Haha, I have been giving popcorn the side-eye since fried corn and groundnuts entered my life in 'the abroad'. I am a HUGE lover of popcorn. I take those puffy things very seriously. But this combo beats popcorn hands down. And just like that, I lost my yearning for the pop to the corn. I didn't think I will be starting a post with "haha" but I am because this is like the craziest recipe post to me. I didn't think I would be writing a post about "fried" corn and groundnuts. But here I am. After someone in my Facebook food group requested the recipe, I'm so eager to tell you about this delicacy.
Fried corn and groundnuts (peanuts) aka krang krang is a street food in Cameroon. And I'm quite sure Nigerians and other Africans eat it too though I do not quite have the facts about that. But with how similar our cuisine is, there should be a link somewhere, amiright?
The corn is not literally "fried" as the name stipulates. It is actually roasted in a pan together with the groundnuts. The result is a crunchy snack that is corn-y, peanut-y and to die for.
Once upon a time, I would go to my aunt's house and remove corn from her mbanda. Mbanda in Cameroon is the colloquial name for the ceiling of the firewood kitchen, where a three-stone traditional fireplace is used in cooking. It is the place where fresh corn is kept during the harvest season, so it can get dried all through the year. The corn is left in its husks then tied to bamboo sticks that are nailed to the ceiling. That makes the mbanda. So I would go to aunty's mbanda and bring down some of that dried corn and roast.
But it was never to my satisfaction. The corn always turned out so hard to chew. It was nothing like the one sold on the streets.
The one sold on the streets were not hard. They were crunchy yet soft enough to chew easily, finish the one you bought then buy again a second or maybe even a third time. Plus the hawkers were always fun to watch. They would toss the corn in the air, spin a bowl around then catch every single flying grain of corn with their bowl. Such a spectacular display!
I couldn't get my corn to taste as epic like theirs. The corn I always took from aunty's mbanda accompanied me to my boarding school. It was a necessary snack. More like a necessary evil at the time - due to its hardness. Roasted corn and groundnut was so common in boarding school that students baptised it with the name, "krang krang".
So when I left home, I thought I had parted forever with my beloved corn and groundnuts. Then one day, another Cameroonian, visited my brother-law whom I was visiting and brought him some corn and groundnuts allllll the way from Cameroon. I ate some grains of that goodness once again and my soul was merry.
Then it happened! I or rather, Mr N discovered corn at the farmer's market that tastes just like the corn back home. Corn that is firm and has a bit of chew to it even when cooked. Corn that is much harder than the sweet corn sold here. At the end of farmer's market season, he bought a huge bag of that lovely homely corn that was partially dried. Then one day, I thought,, perhaps I could make krang krang with this. I tried it and it was a HIT.
I have discovered the secret to soft, easy-to-chew krang krang. If the corn you use is too hard, you have to soak it in water for at least one hour before use. You could even soak it overnight. The yield is well-roasted corn that is crunchy and just so good.
And oh, you do not need corn from the farmer's market to get corn like me if corn is not readily available where you live. I have seen dried corn in Asian stores before. You could also look for the Goya brand giant wite corn.Those will work as well.
This contri snack is so natural, filled with good amounts of dietary fibre, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. There is NO REASON why you shouldn't try this. The corn and groundnuts are the perfect couple. The corn, firm, yet crunchy. The groundnuts, crunchy and oily. This combo in your mouth and in mine, takes you straight to contri snack heaven. This is something so tasty, so satisfying, yet so healthy. In this day and age, things like this with all the virtues (tasty and healthy) in place are hard to find. So I am ahem, commanding you to make this. Your body and soul will be thankful.
This is something so tasty, so satisfying, yet so healthy. In this day and age, things like this with all the virtues (tasty and healthy) in place are hard to find. So I am ahem, commanding you to make this. Your body and soul will be thankful.
Roasted Corn and Groundnuts (Peanuts)
- 2 cups dried corn
- 2 cups dried peanuts (groundnuts) without shell on
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Soak corn in water, completely submerged for at least one hour. You could soak the corn overnight if it is too hard.
- Drain the corn and place in a large pan on low heat. Stir from time to time until it starts to gain some color.
- Mix salt with about a tablespoon of water and add in. Mix well then add in the groundnuts. Note that groundnuts should be only added when corn is more than halfway done. Stir until groundnut is thoroughly cooked.
- Let it cool completely then place in an airtight container to preserve.