Who would have thought that a plant disease could become an edible ingredient? But that’s what huitlacoche is; a delicacy and plant disease.
You may not have tasted it, but if you like unique dishes, you may be curious about how it tastes.
Huitlacoche is a Mexican delicacy but gaining plenty of attention from food enthusiasts and chefs worldwide.
It’s primarily used as a filling in dishes like quesadillas.
Looking at its popularity, it seems like it is a delicious ingredient that many want to eat.
But what does huitlacoche taste like? If you are also thinking the same, let’s find out below.
What is Huitlacoche?
Plants get afflicted with different types of diseases.
Huitlacoche is a type of disease in corn species, and a fungus, Ustilago maydis is responsible for the plant disease.
The fungus invades the ovaries of its host plant and attacks every part of the plant.
When the infection sets in, the kernels swell up, turning everything to mushroom-like features along with blue-black spores.
While the disease destroys the corn, it’s also edible and delicious, obviously.
It’s not just yummy but also contains nutrients.
Popularly eaten as a filling in quesadillas, tacos, and other similar items in Mexico, it’s also gained the attention of culinary enthusiasts.
The Aztec farmers discovered the delicacy a long time ago, and they used to add it to stews and tamales.
Fresh huitlacoche is available only in Mexico, especially during farmer markets.
However, you can get canned or frozen varieties at many Latin grocery stores and online stores.
If you are keen to taste the delicacy, you can order online.
What Does Huitlacoche Taste Like?
While it’s considered a delicacy, we still don’t know what huitlacoche tastes like.
But it won’t take long to learn the truth because it’s the next thing we will talk about.
Huitlacoche combines sweet, savory, earthy, woody, smoky corn-like, or inky flavors.
It’s spongy, and you might feel like eating a mushroom with sweet and savory tastes.
People also call the delicacy corn-smut since it’s the name of the same disease.
It’s also called cuitlacoche, maize mushroom, Mexican truffle, caviar Aztec or Mexican caviar.
If you visit restaurants with huitlacoche on their menu, you may see the last four names mentioned above.
Fresh huitlacoche is dryer and springier to the touch, while the canned variety has more fluid and a darker shade.
The flavors of fresh and preserved types are also likely to vary because of the processing.
If you cultivate it, harvest it when it’s gray and spongy to get the best flavor.
It can become bitter if you wait till the corn smut hardens, and it will be just a waste of time.
- Nutritional Value of Huitlacoche.
It is not only a delicacy, but it also contains nutrients.
For example, canned huitlacoche corn truffle by Krainkn LLC has 69 calories per 112g serving.
It has 3g of carbs, vitamins, and several minerals.
The fresh or dry form of huitlacoche has numerous good nutritional features for human diet.
It contains high amounts of minerals and fatty acids.
It also has protein and vitamins.
How to Cook Huitlacoche?
While you can eat huitlacoche raw, you should try cooking it first.
It’s pretty simple to cook huitlacoche, and you can eat it in several ways.
You can make it the star ingredient in several dishes whenever you plan to include it on the menu.
Tacos, quesadillas, and tamales are three dishes that you can include huitlacoche and make it the main ingredient.
You can also add it to soups and stews along with your favorite spices and herbs.
While you can cook huitlacoche in different ways, sautéing is the tastiest and easiest method.
If you are wondering how to do it, think of mushroom recipes.
You can cook fungus-ridden corn the same way that you cook mushrooms.
While cooking, corn smut turns even darker.
So, don’t worry if you notice your ingredient become blacker than before because it’s normal.
If you want to add it to tacos and quesadillas, select your preferred seasonings to bring out the incredible flavor.
Onions, garlic, and chile peppers make perfect ingredients to go with corn smut.
Make sure to remove the husk and stray hairs before you cut off the kernels from the cob to avoid unwanted particles in the dish.
It may look ugly at first sight, but the fungus is yummy and different.
Pronounced whee-tla-Ko-cheh, huitlacoche is now a much sought-after ingredient for food enthusiasts.
Considered a blight, on the one hand, it’s a delicacy on the other.
What’s more, it’s more expensive than regular corn.
Hence, instead of being a curse, it can be a blessing.
It also has plenty of nutrients, so you get goodness and pleasure, and satisfaction.
Visit a nearby Latin grocery store or order online to create a yummy dish with corn fungus.