Well Bay Islanders, this one’s for you! For those of you who’ve never been to Roatan or any of the Bay Islands, the chances are that you’ve never heard of this dessert. So allow me to introduce you to — Corn Rice!
This dessert has everything to do with corn but has absolutely nothing to do with rice, so I have no idea how or who came up with name “Corn Rice.” The only reason I can think of is that it is similar to rice pudding, but you make it from corn instead of rice.
I am pretty sure that I’m not alone in saying that Corn Rice is an all-time favorite Bay Island dessert! It’s right up there with Yuca Cake and Rice Cake, but although most islanders love to eat it, not many of them make it. It is pretty rare to find Corn Rice these days, and after numerous attempts at making it for this recipe, I now know why! If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in awhile. Well, this recipe is the reason it came to a screeching halt.
Making Corn Rice
Before I set out to make Corn Rice, I honestly didn’t realize how complicated it was. I had heard that you needed to boil dried corn in “ashes” to make hominy corn and so I thought – “It can’t be that complicated (eye-roll); I’ll just use my InstantPot, and get it done in no time!”
Although I had seen short-cut Corn Rice recipes before, I didn’t like the ones that I tried. To me, they tasted nothing like “real” Corn Rice. For one, I don’t like hominy with the hulls attached to the kernels. Secondly, most recipes used sweetened condensed milk, which to me never tasted like the real thing.
I wanted to make authentic Bay Island Corn Rice. You know? From actual corn and from scratch. So I did a bit more research on Google on how to make hominy and I asked every local I knew that had experience with it. And the basic consensus was — Corn Rice is a lot of work!
And boy were they right…
Making hominy from scratch is very time-consuming. First, you soak dried corn kernels overnight. You then boil them in alkaline water for several hours or as long as it takes for the outer shell to dissolve and the hulls to release. There are a few ways to get alkaline water, but the typical way in the Bay Islands is by using wood ash along with baking soda, which helps remove the hard tips of the kernels. Once the corn is finished boiling in the alkaline water, you then have to wash the corn to remove the hulls and tips of each little kernel. One. By. One. It’s a long and arduous, back-breaking process; so kudos to anyone who makes Corn Rice the real old-fashioned way.
To make a long story short, my journey in making Corn Rice lead me to one conclusion — Corn Rice will fade into the pages of Bay Island history if an easier way of making it isn’t figured out. For one, nobody has the time these days, and secondly, islanders no longer cook on wood stoves. So, in frustration and defeat, I resorted to the canned hominy corn I so despised. But after trying several brands, Bush’s Best White Hominy, Maiz Pozolero is a winner! The White Hominy (not Golden Hominy) does a great job of mimicking the homemade hominy corn in Bay Island Corn Rice. And after many tries and tweaks, this recipe tastes just like the real thing.
Best of all, you can have a bowl of Bay Island goodness in less than 20 minutes. No matter where you live.
I hope you enjoy!
A one-of-a-kind Bay Island dessert.
- 4 Cans Bush's Best White Hominy Corn 15.5 oz
- 1 Can Coconut Milk 14 oz.
- 3 Cups Whole Milk
- 2 Tbs. Corn Starch
- 1 - 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 2 Tbs. Vanilla
- 1 Tbs. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
Open cans of Hominy Corn.
Drain and rinse corn well.
Combine coconut milk, whole milk, and cornstarch in a large pot.
Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
Next, add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved.
Add hominy corn.
Add salt 1/4 tsp at a time, tasting in between and adjust if needed.
Continue to cook over medium to high heat until sauce is thickened.
Canned Hominy is very salty, so be sure that you drain them of all the water and rinse them well before adding. Taste before adding the salt at the end. You may not need to add the full 1/2 teaspoon of salt and will depend on how well you wash the corn.