GUINATAANG Mais. Corn and glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. It is one of the traditional Filipino merienda fares that never fail to give comfort, especially in uncertain times such as this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown in Luzon that has already been extended twice. Two months of staying home—or “forced leave” from work—isn’t exactly what a lot of people would want to do, given such short notice. But, well, quite a number of them have adjusted, looked for productive ways to spend their time at home besides bonding with the family, and ‘discovered’ the beauty and joy of cooking and baking.
Here in Cainta, Rizal, where a surge of food vendors has suddenly taken the FB page of the subdivision my husband Raff and I live in by storm. And one of the merienda fares that they offer online, free delivery within the subdivision, is Guinataang Mais. So when I saw the FB post of Chef Peachy Cebrero (I met her many years back when she was still with the San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Center), where she shared the recipe of Guinataang Mais, I decided to try it at home. The first attempt was a disaster because I absent-mindedly used a powdered gata mix that had already been pre-seasoned for savory applications. So I did it again, and the second attempt was a success. This time, I used liquid gata, specifically canned Jolly Coconut Milk, with Jolly Whole Corn Kernels, both from my pantry. I mixed together glutinous rice and Jasmine rice. The rest, I followed Chef Peachy’s recipe to the letter and made my adjustments in the end to suit my personal taste.
I wanted to use fresh gata, but I would have to bike all the way to the subdivision entrance, where there’s a small stall selling fresh buko and fresh coconut, and bike all the way back to the house under the heat of the hot summer sun. That’s a whole two kilometers going out and another two kilometers getting back home. Well, I do that when need be during this lockdown, but if I could avoid it and just use the ingredients in my pantry or buy from the neighborhood store two stones’ throw away from the house, I would do just that.
Enough said, though. Let’s get back to Chef Peachy’s Guinataang Mais. If you want it, here’s the recipe, which she generously agreed to share.
4 cups liquid (combination of kakang-gata from 2 pcs. coconut + water)
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup Jasmine rice (or any variant)
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1. Combine everything, except sugar and salt, in a pot. Cover with lid, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.
2. Add sugar and salt towards the end of the cooking process.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.