Corn jacks and chiko rolls are large deep fried rolls served at Australian fish and chip shops across the country. The rolls are mass produced (by food manufacturer Simplot) and sold in frozen form to take away outlets, which are then deep fried and sold to the consumer. While it is well known that chiko rolls contain some meat, corn jacks are often presented as a non-meat alternative for vegetarians. The only problem is that corn jacks are about the furthest thing from a vegetarian option. Mass produced corn jacks contain less than 50 per cent corn, and include tuna oil and beef fat.
The littlebaking reformation of the corn jack celebrates the positive elements of this take-away food classic by pairing a creamy corn-based filling with a crunchy casing. However, we reduce the fat levels by baking and not frying, and incorporate only vegetarian ingredients. This recipe also conforms to a number of important Australian home-baking traditions. It offers economy (affordable ingredients), can be made in bulk when a fresh food item is in abundance (corn season) and then frozen to be incorporated into a family meal at short notice, and uses ingredients which may be past prime (eg good quality bread stale bread which makes you grieve at the thought of having to throw it out!). The corn balls will also keep well in a sealed container, in the fridge, for a week.
This recipe is sufficient to make about 32 corn balls (the quantities can be easily scaled up or down however to meet the quantity of fresh corn you may have available). The small bite-sized portions are excellent as party appetizers or our suggestion is to offer these corn-based treats centre-stage by incorporating them into a spaghetti and meatballs-style main meal. Our best ever vegetarian based pasta sauce (pictured) will also feature in a future edition of littlebaking.
8 cobs of corn (saw kernels directly from raw cobs )
4 slices of best bread (we use a favourite semolina and grain based loaf)
Half cup of chopped parsley (either curled or flat leaf is fine)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
4 cloves of garlic (finely grated)
Quarter of cup SR flour (wheat, spelt or white as preferred)
1 & half cups grated cheddar cheese of choice
3 tablespoons of corn meal
Ingredients (coating and other ingredients)
2 parts fine dry breadcrumbs (commercially bought is fine)
1 part corn meal
1-2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Put corn and bread into blender and blitz (texture should still be a little chunky). In a bowl, combine bread/corn mixture with chopped parsley, cayenne, garlic, cheese and egg. Add corn meal and flour last. Roll into balls (suitable for a classic spaghetti and meat ball style dish), then roll in the breadcrumb and corn meal mix. Place rolled corn balls in fridge and let set for about an hour at least.
Preheat oven to 200C. In a large baking tray, splash sunflower oil sufficient to cover the tray. Heat in oven. When oil is hot, drop corn balls onto tray and roll around a little until coated. Bake for about half an hour (longer if you would like a very crunchy brown texture).