Ways with Mielies/ Umbona/ Umbila

23 September 2015

We love our mielies whether boiled, braaied or used in mielie bread! It’s easy to find them from the street vendors at taxi ranks or on the side of the road. Is there other ways of preparing mielies to make them more exciting? Before we get to that we need to look at the contribution to diet and the benefits they add to our health.

There are two types of corn, 1) the one we usually get from the mielies ladies on the road, it is hard and high in carbohydrates. 2) Sweet Corn which is usually found in packets of 3’s and 4’s at retails stores. Sweet corn is sweeter, contains less starch and cooks faster than the other variety.

Mielies one of those items that have been a staple in Africa, we also took over from our parents, and consume it. We love it, for it is easily accesible, more especial in the country side. It is also affordable and can be eaten as a an in-between meal snack.

What are the health benefits of mielies?
Mielies contain most nutrients in the kernels, in addition to that they are a good source of energy which works as fuel to your body. Mielies have a high fibre content which acts as a broom, sweeping all the uncessesary junk our to your stomach and thereby helping to prevent constipation and certain types of cancer. Diabetes is also controlled by moderate consumption of mielies. Mielies lso help in lowering hypetension, however, one needs to watch the amount of salt they add.

Ways of preparing mielies
Steam or boil – These are the most popular methods of preparationg and mielies are tasty with just an addition of rama, salt or aromat.

Grilled in the oven – Mielies are enjoyed by adding a little bit of salt, pepper, paprika and Rama. After that, they are wrapped in foil and cooked in the oven until soft. These make a complete meal when served with meat and veggies.

Soups and stews – Raw kernels removed from the cob and added to stews an soups.

Fritters – Try making potato, pumpkin or mifino fritters using boiled mielie kernels or sweet corn kernels. Kids will love them and adults will appreciate the difference in texture.

Salads – Boiled mielie kernels are added to salads to add colour and nutrients. For an example, try adding them to this Curried Bean Salad.

Salsa / Shatini – Next time you prepare your onion and tomato mix (shatini, bisto or smoor), sprouse it up by adding cooked mielie kernels to it.

Corn / Savoury Bread – When last did you have corn / mielie bread? Here’s an idea for the next time you make ujeqe or home baked bread;

Fry chopped onion with green pepper and a little red pepper for colour variations and season with curry powder. Add boiled corn kernels to the onion mixture. Leave the whole mixture to cool down then add to your risen jeqe or bread dough. Bake or steam as desired.

Braaing – The best way of braaing mielies is just grilling them on a grid over coals. It has been enjoyed this way for years with no additional components added to it.

We hope you play around with different methods of preparing your mielies but remember like the good doctor would say – too much of a good thing is bad for you, so let’s keep it in moderation!

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