Mote – known as hominy in English – is a really versatile ingredient typically used across South America as an accompaniment to dishes, as an alternative to rice or quinoa. Once cooked, the big kernels soften up. It’s got a slightly nutty flavour and can also be used in soups and broths to add texture.
This recipe is particularly popular in Ecuador, and hails from the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, in the Andes mountains. It’s a seriously hearty dish and I love it for breakfast. It’s normally served with a little fresh cheese – you could try feta or buffalo mozzarella – and a black coffee.
Makes one big plate – a big single portion, or split as an accompaniment
- 400g mote corn
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of chives, chopped
- 3 eggs, beaten
- A large knob of butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- Half a teaspoon achiote paste
- 100ml milk
- 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
- Salt, to taste
- Before getting started, you’ll need to prepare the mote itself. Start by taking the corn and placing in a bowl of water to soak overnight.
- Once it’s soaked, drain the mote and add it to a large saucepan with plenty of boiling water. It takes about 2-3 hours for the mote to soften up, and you’ll see that the kernels are starting to split and pop. Don’t wait for it to become mushy though, it should still have some firmness to it. You can try a kernel to test. Once you’re happy with it, drain it and leave to cool. At this point you can leave it in the fridge or even freeze it if you’re not using it straight away.
- Once this is out of the way, the rest of the recipe is super easy. Start by heating the butter in a large frying pan. Once it’s hot, add the garlic, onions and achiote with a little salt and keep stirring. The fragrant achiote will give it a lovely red colour.
- Once the onions are softened up, add the mote and stir in so it becomes well coated. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently, so it warms through.
- Add the beaten eggs and continue to stir well. As the egg scrambles, you should keep stirring so it runs through the corn. This will take another 3 minutes or so.
- Finally add the chives and parsley and stir through. Serve with the fresh cheese for a great breakfast!