I just got back from a trip to Peru and fell in love with the Cancha Corn (toasted corn with a little bit of oil and salt). I'm trying to see where I can buy them. Most Latino stores sell the uncooked kernels which you have to make at home, but not the already made ones. Does anyone know where I can buy these online??
HI Steve - thank you. I'm pretty bummed about not finding these delicious treats! I'm going to the store this weekend to get the uncooked ones and I'll attempt at making them myself. I'll post my results, but here's the recipe I'm planning to use.
1 lb. Peruvian Cancha Corn
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Tbs. sea salt
vegetable oil for frying
1. In a bowl, toss corn and olive oil, spread on a sheet pan and roast slowly in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked in the middle.
2. Will look similar to a half cooked popcorn kernel once it is done. Remove from oven, pour back into bowl and toss with salt to taste.
Steve's right about frying them. We lived in Latin America and always had to do tostados fresh. They're ubiquitous through the Andes.
The recipe books I have call for 1/4 cup lard but say you can substitute vegetable oil, in a large pan, over a low fire for 1/2 hour, stirring constantly. Salt after cooking and serve immediately. We served these as snacks and as an alternate topping to popcorn with ceviche. They don't keep well.
They're not really much different from corn nuts. The corn is just another variety that isn't grown in the US.
I've seen this toasted corn in 4 oz bags under the "Incas Food" brand. They also make toasted hominy, and fried favas (habas). But it may have been a small shipment, because the store quickly ran out of all 3 (last summer).
I now see the habas on Amigofoods.com, but not the others.
Cancha Corn (commercial, in a bag)
Taste: These toasted corn kernels were noticeably taller than any other type of corn I've seen. The level of crunch varied quite a bit from kernel to kernel, with some being crunchy but crisp, and others a bit chewier than I would prefer. They had a dry, somewhat salty corn taste. Nefesh Foods told us that Cancha Corn is "best eaten with something cold to drink, and with beer, it is unsurpassed" so I brought it to the running club/drinking club to allow a broad spectrum of people to try it with beer.
Aroma: Kind of like slightly burnt popcorn. I have two recipes for Ceviche with Canch if you want them.
Please do post your two Ceviche with cancha recipes. I am looking for a cancha recipe that is fried since as best as I could make out with my minimal Spanish that is how the lady in the Peruvian market told me it was done. Something along the lines of - use a heavy pot (e.g., dutch oven) heat oil slowly until hot, add cancha, quickly put lid on and shake it until popping subsides. Basically like making popcorn? But I'd like to see quantities of cancha to oil for the frying method. Thanks so much!
Have you guys ever tried the GLAD CORN brand A-Maizing Corn Snack? Someone just said recently that this is the next best thing on the market to Cancha corn from Peru. I love it and even have tried making other things with it or even mixing it with M&M's and nuts for a trail mix. You can find it at http://www.corn-snack.com.
You would never buy it already made. Best practice is to use a bit of pam spray or very light coating of olive oil and cover bottom of wok with cancha. Turn up heat to start the popping but be careful not to burn kernels. Put lid on wok and shake pan like it's jiffy pop until the popping stops. Dump into bowl and add a tbsp of sweet butter to lightly coat kernels and sprinkle with salt. Best with peruvian beer.