Friday, December 21, 2012

Corn muffins: Weekend Brunch

I had never had a savory-ish muffin ever in my life. Then came A's friend- who went to a culinary school in New York while her husband was sent far away on a consulting assignment. Not only did she go to this school, but she actually got interested enough to stay on for a whole 9 months and graduate.  So when she came to visit us loaded with a tray-ful of goodies she'd baked herself, my jaw literally dropped to the floor. Not only did she bring melt-in-the-mouth cakes and muffins, but also awesome chocolate creations and a few of the savory corn and jalapeƱo muffins, that she said were leftover from their morning breakfast.  The first thought that went through my mind when I tasted her creations- her husband's never going to accept any more consulting offers ever again :-))

No amount of begging could move her to part with her recipes. Because apparently the school made her sign a contract saying she will not share those.  Plus she's also aspiring to start a business on the side. Reluctantly, I let her be. Her muffins were so good though, that I fought with A for the last one....that is something as rare as can be......

Her muffins never really went out of my mind though.  Even though I didn't have her recipe, I wanted to see if I could come with my own. I googled a bit, collected a few recipes, sat on them for a few months gathering courage. Then one of the last few weekends of my MIL's visit to us, I decided to jump-in and experiment.  The result- they weren't exactly culinary school graduate level; but pretty good, actually!!

Corn & Capsicum Muffins

AP flour 1 cup
Corn meal 1/2 cup ( I used our good old Indian Makki-ka-atta)
Salt 1/2 tsp
Baking powder 1tsp
baking soda 1/2tsp
Tbsp vinegar 1/2
Yogurt (dahi) thinned with milk (or buttermilk) 3/4 cup 
Sugar 1Tbsp
Butter 2Tbsp
Canned sweet corn kernels 1/2 a can; slightly mashed
Green bell pepper 1 small chopped fine

  1. Mix the first 4 dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and keep aside.
  2. In a different bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter and sugar together for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour gently. Do not beat. Lumps were fine in my batter.
  4. Fold in the corn and bell peppers with just 1 or 2 gentle swirls.
  5. Finally, in a small bowl, mix the baking soda into the vinegar. You will see a lot of bubbles form. Immediately pour this mix into your muffin batter and give it a quick mix.
  6. Spoon into greased muffin tray. I got 10 muffins out of this measurement.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F. I think it took about 20 minutes in my oven. I generally use a prick test to check the done-ness.
My two cents: My MIL did not want to eat these.  In her opinion, baked goods are "heavier" to digest than even the deep fried ones. So she only took 1/3rd of the muffin "to get a taste". She ended up eating 2 more whole muffins after the taste test :-))

Like I said, these weren't as good as our friends. The biggest difference was the "fluffiness". Mine were sort of dense in the middle. That could just be because of omitting the egg from the recipe I was following. I thought the yogurt and vinegar/baking soda mix would be enough of an egg substitute- maybe not.  I have no clue if our friend had egg in her recipe. 

Or it could just be using the Indian corn meal instead of the fine ground American one. These two are very different in textures, and that could just be the reason. Any how, I do plan to experiment a bit more  here. Despite that, these muffins really did taste good....and my MIL is an excellent judge of that aspect :-)