Chi-Chi's Sweet Corn Cake Reduced-Fat
By Todd Wilbur
A deserted Kroger grocery store in Richfield, Minnesota, was the site for the first Chi-Chi's in 1976. That was the year restaurateur Marno McDermott got together with ex-Green Bay Packer football player Max McGee to open the first of what would soon become a growing chain of Mexican food restaurants. Today, with around 100 restaurants found mostly in the Midwestern and Eastern states, Chi-Chi's has become famous for its large portions of food, and for the expression, "don't touch the plate, it's very hot!"
Alongside many of the entrees served at the restaurant is this sweet side dish. It's sort of like a combination of custard and cornbread, with corn and cornmeal in it. But the original is loaded with butter. That means if you eat just a very small scoop of the tasty corn cake you'll be putting away around a dozen grams of fat. By using light butter or margarine and substituting milk for the heavy cream, we knock those fat grams down to about half of the real thing served in the restaurant. Yet the flavor and texture is just as good.
Serving size–1 scoop
Calories per serving–125 (Original–185)
Fat per serving–6.5g (Original–13g)
Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.
This recipe is available in
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) light butter or margarine, softened
- 1/3 cup masa harina
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Do This
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Blend the butter or margarine in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the masa harina and water to the butter and beat until well combined.
3. Put the defrosted corn into a blender or food processor and, with short pulses, coarsely chop the corn on low speed. You want to leave several whole kernels of corn. Stir the chopped corn into the butter and masa harina mixture. Add the cornmeal to the mixture. Combine.
4. In another medium bowl, mix together the sugar, milk, salt, and baking powder. When the ingredients are well blended, pour the mixture into the other bowl and stir everything together by hand.
5. Pour the corn batter into an ungreased 8x8-inch baking pan. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place this pan into a 13x9-inch pan filled one-third of the way up with hot water. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the corn cake is cooked through.
6. When the corn cake is done, remove the small pan from the larger pan and let sit for at least 10 minutes. To serve, scoop out each portion with an ice cream scoop or rounded spoon.
Serves 8 as a side dish.
I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker
For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.