Today I will teach you how to prepare tod man khao pod, the popular Thai corn fritters.
According to the traditional Thai recipe, tod man khao pod (ข้าวโพด ข้าวโพด), literally “fried corn fritters”, are prepared from cooked corn, ground pork or shrimp, rice flour, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, egg and spices. All the ingredients are mixed, shaped into patties, and fried in canola oil.
There is also a vegetarian version of these corn fritters where tofu may be added. I chose to prepare the vegetarian version without tofu.
I have never been to Thailand but I hope to make it there very soon!
Until then, whenever I want to travel to Thailand, I do it without leaving my kitchen. Why not traveling from your kitchen and savor the tastes and smells of one of the most popular countries in the world not only for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and 300 days of sunshine a year, but also for the unique aromas of its dishes and for the combination of its five flavors: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.
The history of corn
For hundreds of years, the Amerindians called it “my mother, my life” as corn was ubiquitous in their diet. Cultivated with squash and beans, this trio was called “the three sisters”.
The history of corn begins a little more than 9,000 years ago in Mexico, in the valley of the “Rio Balsas” in the middle of the Sierra Madre del Sur.
The modern corn, as we know it today, originates from a Mexican grass called teosinte (zea diploperennis).
At this time, the people who ate the tiny seeds of this teosinte, modified this plant over a few centuries to transform it to corn, which would be the staple food of all the great Amerindian civilization including the Incas, Mayas, Aztecs, Chimus, Nazcas , Olmec, Toltec.
The Amerindian farmers adapted the maize to all their migrations: from the Mexican mountains to the Andes and the Yucatan Plains, to the Caribbean and much later to the temperate plains of North America and South America.
When the Europeans discovered America, they found the types of corn adapted to each climate, from Canada to Argentina and they diversified it: translucent or floury grain, sweet, to pop, white, yellow, red, blue, etc. The adaptation to Europe, Africa and Asia was therefore greatly facilitated.
The French started growing corn in the seventeenth century, and it spread rapidly, especially in the south-west and replaced their ancestral cereals partly with this newcomer with a much higher yield.
Corn is not necessarily yellow or white. There are between 50 and 60 varieties of corn in Mexico.
Three colors of corn grains stand out among the few existing colors, each with different properties and benefits:
It is the most popular, and the most consumed. Fresh or dry, its grains are used in many culinary preparations such as the famous Italian polenta, Mexican corn tortilla, or American succotash to name a few.
Popcorn or zea mays everta
Corn that is specifically grown for popcorn is rich in protein, iron, calcium, and fiber and is an excellent snack.
Blue and purple corn
Rare on the stalls, these maize are no less natural. They even have extraordinary benefits. These two corns are a variety of maize originating in the Peruvian Andes Valley and are commonly cultivated at an altitude of 10000 feet. Purple corn especially is a sacred food for the Incas and it is the main ingredient of the national drink Peruvian drink called chicha morada.
Renowned for their many health benefits, the blue and purple corns contain a high concentration of anthocyanins which are a type of complex flavonoids giving them a strong antioxidant action that is 40 times higher than vitamin E, the youth vitamin! They contain a very powerful component to limit the effects of time on the relaxation of the skin.
But let’s go back to our tod man khao pod.
When I prepared my kaeng kari kai, which is prepared with chicken in this delicious yellow curry paste, I explained to you that there were 3 main Thai currys: yellow, green and red. These small corn fritters contain red curry paste.
Also known as nam phrik kaeng daeng (กรแกง แดง แดง) in Thailand. You can just as well buy the already prepared red curry paste at the supermarket but it is clear that you will never get the same result as by preparing it in your kitchen . And it is honestly not that complicated to make!
These little corn fritters that I prepared for my two sons, with this red curry paste and its aromas, is an explosive and creative encounter with the smells and flavors of Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos. Incredibly tasty, they sure didn’t last long!
- 1 (1-in piece) galangal root , grated
- 4 dry red bell peppers , cut into pieces
- 2 dry red hot peppers , cut into pieces
- 1 kaffir lime leaf , thinly cut
- ½ stem lemongrass finely sliced
- Zest of 1 kaffir lime
- 1 shallot , grated
- 2 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry saucepan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Soak the peppers and hot peppers in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Put all the ingredients together in a mortar and crush them for several minutes using a pestle to produce a fine paste.
- Boil the corn in a pot of water for 20 minutes.
- Remove the corn kernels from the cobs. Reserve half of the corn kernels and place the other half in a blender with the red curry paste and mix.
- Add the eggs, rice flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until homogeneous and transfer mixture into a bowl.
- Stack the kaffir lime leaves and roll them. Cut the roll to obtain very fine strips. Add the strips into the corn dough and add the reserved whole corn kernels
Pour at least 2 inches (5cm) of oil in a wok or frying pan to about 300F/150C.
- Gently pour a tablespoon of corn dough into the hot oil. Once the fritters come back to the surface, turn them over until they are evenly cooked and browned. Place the fritters on a paper towel lined plate.
- Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.