Nutritionally Rich Maize Flour

Maize flour, also known as maize starch, cornflour or corn flour, cornstarch or corn starch, is the starch of the maize or corn that’s taken from the corn kernel endosperm. With that said, maize flour is as popular to Africans as potato flours are to Americans and Europeans. This flour type is mostly taken from the ever-popular corn or maize plant (Zea mays). In contrast, cornmeal (flour ground from American corn) is the coarse form that’s renowned in polenta creation in Northern Italy, among many other dishes worldwide. Unsurprisingly, polenta is nearly identical to many of the African-made meals using this type of flour.

History of Maize Flour
Maize flour, which is more famously known as corn starch, credits Thomas Kingsford as its inventor back in the 1840s. The Jersey City wheat starch factory superintendent discovered and began manufacturing this flour in New Jersey. For about a decade or so until 1850, maize flour was mostly utilized for industrial applications or for the mundane starching of laundry. It was eventually used as a thickening agent in liquid-based meals such as soups, custard, gravies, and sauces. There are times when people prefer using it over normal wheat flour because it forms a unique translucent mixture instead of the traditional opaque one. Aside from its culinary uses in its hotels and restaurants, maize flour (also known as cornstarch) also has applications in other industries such as paper, textiles, and pharmaceuticals.

Although traditional Indian dishes typically don’t use maize flour, there are Asian-influenced dishes (such as the Indian Manchurian Vegetable Balls) that makes use of this ingredient thanks mostly to the blend of Indian and East or Southeast Asian cooking traditions. The major trading centers for maize flour in India are in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. In India, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Mumbai, there are major markets for processed maize products, which naturally include maize flour or cornstarch. Other important markets for maize flour include Bangalore, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, and Bhopal. The majority of maize flour manufacturers are found in Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and so forth, with their marketing offices located in Mumbai.

Production and Applications of Maize Flour
As the maize flour is heated, its molecular strands separate. This allows them to bump against other starch strands to form a net that thickens the liquid. This process is known as starch gelatinization. This flour is also used as an agent that avoids caking in powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar or 10X). This is why recipes that require powdered sugar often call for light cooking to eliminate the raw maize flour taste. Maize flour is also allegedly used in baby powder as well. In certain scientific tests and experiments, maize flour can also be utilized as a non-Newtonian fluid, wherein its only other substitute is arrowroot (which replaces this flour variant on a 1:1 ratio).

Maize Flour Production and Manufacturing
Because of its relative affordability and ready availability, it’s no wonder maize flour has made a great impact in Africa, among many other continents of the world, which includes North and South America, South Asia, and Europe. Traditionally, maize flour is made by pounding dry corn in a big mortar containing until you can get the smooth powdery consistency of flour. With the advent of modern technology, this versatile and delicious flour made from maize seed is presently being made in a larger, worldwide scale via mechanization and factory work. When it comes to manufacturing maize flour via wet milling, you need to first steep the corn for thirty to forty-eight hours (almost half a day or two whole days) in order to slightly ferment it.

From there, the germ divided from the endosperm, which allows you to grind the two components separately while they’re still soaked. Afterwards, the starch is removed from each component by washing them off of it. It’s separated from gluten and other substances via centrifuges and hydrocyclones before they’re dried. Even the residue from the process is beneficial, because it can be used for animal feed and other byproducts. After everything is said and done, the flour may be modified for whatever purpose it’s supposed to serve.

How to Properly Use Maize Flour
When using maize flour, you should first mix it with cold water or any other cool liquid until you end up with a smooth maize flour paste of sorts. You can then add this paste to whatever concoction you want to thicken. Adding the flour without turning it into paste first will result in lumps that are hard to mash out, so it’s advised that you apply cool liquid on corn starch in order to achieve a desirable smooth texture.

One way of ensuring that all the lumps are removed from the maize flour paste is to put them into a jar, screw on the lid, and shake the mixture vigorously until all signs of the lumps are eliminated. The jar-shaking method enables you to control your portions better when adding the paste to gravy, sauce, or soup. It even works when it comes to smoothening out a flour and water mixture too.

Uses of Maize Flour in India
Maize flour plays a vital role in Indian cuisine, probably rivaling the African usage of the product. Food-grade maize flour has many different culinary applications in India, particularly its use in different dal dishes. Moreover, it’s mainly used in noodles, specifically maize flour noodles. Contrary to popular belief, Indian food isn’t just about curry and spicy food. Maize flour usage in India is partly influenced by its use in Asian cuisine and India’s adoption of Asian food traditions.

There are many classic Indian noodle dishes out there, even though they’re not quite at par with Asian noodle dishes in terms of worldwide popularity. To be more specific, maize flour noodles are mostly featured in classic Indian grain and vegetarian cooking. Phalooda (or falooda) is a classic Indian noodle cuisine that uses maize flour noodles as its main ingredient, and it can be eaten on its own, with kulfi (Indian ice cream), fruit, or milk sauce. It’s made by cooking maize flour and cornstarch into a paste, which then later results into a delicious, transparent noodle with a mild corn flavoring.

International Culinary Uses of Maize Flour
If you’re from the Zambian basin, maize flour is typically prepared as nshima or a mealie meal; it’s also eaten as a boboro or mswara. Its corn-based dough is consumed heartily by Africans with delicious vegetable stew relish that’s served with fish or bush meat. Meanwhile, beans and greens can be served with maize flour dough as side garnishes. Even though maize flour is renowned for its cheapness, the dishes that make use of it are left with a rich taste that belies the ingredient’s affordability.

All the dishes below are prepared fundamentally the same manner, but they exhibit differences in texture and details in preparation like the vast majority of African foods. On that note, African cuisine is truly all the more sumptuous thanks to corn starch. The most common maize flour meals are as follows:

• Cou-Cou (Caribbean)
• Ugali
• Sadza
• Polenta (Italy)
• Nshima or Oshifima (Namibia)
• Mswara
• Boboro

Maize Flour Substitution and Health Benefits
If you’re wheat intolerant yet you want to enjoy traditional wheat products, then food with maize flour substitution may be the answer to your gastronomical cravings. Maize flour can be used exactly as wheat flour is when it comes to creating breakfast meals, confectionaries, bread, and much, much more. This corn-derived flour is low in fact, rich in dietary fiber, and full of proteins, which are all important in promoting a healthier you. In fact, fortified maize flour has been utilized in helping remove incidents of malnutrition in various parts of the globe.

Maize flour is arguably the third most widely consumed flour next to rice flour and wheat flour. Furthermore, its health and nutritional benefits cannot be denied. It promotes better digestion through dietary fiber, it helps in healthy growth thanks to its protein content, helps prevent anemia and depression thanks to its Vitamin B6 content, it helps with cell energy thanks to its magnesium content, and it promotes cardiovascular health and optimal bowel functions with its omega 6 oils. Omega 6 also helps in helping you fight against infections as well. What’s more, it’s less expensive than many other flour types out there.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100gm
Calories from Fat 32
Calories 365
Total Fat 6%
Saturated Fat 3%
Potassium 22%
Total Carbohydrate 25%
Dietary Fiber 38%
Calcium 14%
Iron 40%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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Comments

  1. is there anything wrong healthwise to eat uncooked maize flour?i crave for uncooked maize flour that i fininish more than a cup everyday,so i wanted to if it will affect me healthwise

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