Tuesday 14 May 2013

Chilli Cornbread Recipe

Cornbread is a staple of some of the southern states of America and Mexico, it's also commonly baked in Liberia, West Africa (where I first came across it).

This version comes from America, but is strongly influenced by Mexican food. However, I like to give it a West African twist by adding piri-piri chillies rather than the jalapeños with which it's most commonly made (this makes it much hotter). Still, if you want a little of the chilli flavour, but not much of the heat you could just as well make it with cayenne chillies. (As you may have guessed, I love chilli-based recipes!)

This recipe is great for mopping up sauces and gravies and this makes an excellent accompaniment to a range of meals.

Chilli Cornbread

Serves: 8
Chilli Cornbread: Classic cornbread containing chillies baked in a loaf tin.


75g (2 1/2 oz) plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
200g medium cornmeal (or polenta)
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
300ml buttermilk
4 tbsp olive oil
200g tinned sweetcorn, drained
2 red chillies, finely chopped (remove the seeds and membranes for a milder effect)
2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped


Sift together the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl then stir in the cornmeal and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth batter. Nw stir in the sweetcorn, chillies and coriander then pour the batter into a deep 1kg (2 lb) loaf tin that's been greased and linen on its base with greaseproof (waxed) paper.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 8) and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cornbread emerges cleanly.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

As an aside to the main recipe, if you would like to learn a little more about chillies (hot peppers) and how they were spread to the Old World from the Americas, read this article on the Worldwide Spread and Adoption of Chillies.

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