Koki Corn (African Fresh Corn Tamales) – a wonderful corn dish made primarily with fresh corn and cornmeal, spinach, and palm oil wrapped in banana leaves or foil and steamed to perfection. A great meal on its own or as sides to your favorite meat.
Koki Corn is one of the vegetarian meals that I truly enjoy. Admittedly, I am a total sucker for anything made with fresh corn.
Koki corn and corn cakes are at the top of my list. There are so many ways to make koki corn, but I like to keep it short, simple, and sweet. I say it is short, simple, and sweet because I make it with only four ingredients – fresh corn, cornmeal, spinach, and palm oil.
The fresh corn is coarsely ground mixed with cornmeal, spinach, palm oil then wrapped in banana leaves/ foil paper and steamed.
This dish is cooked in West Africa, predominantly in Cameroon during the rainy season because of the abundance of fresh corn. Here, in America, you do not have to wait for summer to make this dish because corn is available year-round.
The fresh corn used in parts of Africa has a higher starch content than that in the United States, but the addition of cornmeal in this recipe produces a very good approximation of the original. You can serve this dish as a meal on its own or with a protein of your choice: chicken, meat.
These freeze well.
Watch How to Make It
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Koki Corn (African Fresh Corn Tamales)
- 5 ears fresh corn
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup corn meal
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoon palm oil
- Foil paper/ Banana/Plantain Leaves/ Saran Wrap
- Remove husk from corn and using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob from top to bottom and gather the kernels with their juices in a large bowl. Use the back of a knife to scrape the residual corn from the cobs. Repeat with the remaining corn. Reserve the corn for later use.
- Using a food processor or blender, pulse the corn with 1 cup of water until it is coarsely ground. You do not want to puree the corn.
- In a bowl combine the mixture with cornmeal, salt and palm oil mixture.
- Finally add the chopped spinach and set aside.
- Cut the banana leaves into rectangles, remove any ugly edges, submerge them in water to clean and drain pat- dry. Use saran wrap if banana leaves are not available.
- The leaves must be heated and wilted over an open high flame to make them flexible.
- Then, cut the aluminum into large squares/ rectangles and place a piece of the leaf / saran wrap on it. Repeat the process and set them aside
- Place the mixture of Koki-corn on the leaf about 1 cup.
- Then quickly fold aluminum over it, and press sides into a rectangle shape making sure to press inwards so none of the Koki runs out.
- Then fold the sides in to seal twice. Repeat the process and set them
- Place the Koki corn in the pot with reserved cobs.
- Line the bottom of a large stock pot with reserved cobs. Add enough water to almost but not quite submerge the cobs. Cover the cobs with a layer aluminium foil . The Koki corn should not come in contact with the water so they don’t get soggy.