You Need to Cook These Corn Nuts in a Deep Fryer
I love corn nut. I think crispy, nixtamalized kernels are better than just a snack, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re an incredible snack to eat. But corn nuts, also known as quico, cancha, and chupi, are not made from corn on the cob. These toasted little pieces are actually made from hominy, corn that has been treated with an alkaline solution to make it tastier, more nutritious, and more digestible.
You can make your own hominy
You can cook hominy yourself , or you can buy dried or canned. I grew up eating canned food as a side dish (with lots of butter), but just like canned chickpeas , you can mix canned hominy with a little butter and toss it in the fryer for a crunchy, salty snack.
Hominy takes a little longer to become crispy than chickpeas, but it all takes less than half an hour. Just take a can of hominy (better yet, take “giant white corn,” a special type of Peruvian hominy that makes incredible corn nuts), drain, rinse, and drain again. Let the plump kernels dry out a bit in the fryer while it heats up, then drizzle with enough oil to coat them and air fry at 400℉ until crispy.
Then it’s time for the season, which is the fun part. You can make Ranch Corn Nuts with Hidden Valley Powder or use Kraft Cheese Powder to make Cheesy Corn Nuts. Old Bay corn nuts would be delicious, as would cajun corn nuts. Any of Trader Joe’s spice blends will work as well, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with raiding your spice locker and creating your own custom-made flavored powder.
The amount of corn nuts you cook at one time will depend on the size of your air fryer; you just want to add enough hominy to make one layer. For models with baskets, remove the tray so that the hominy sits directly on the bottom of the basket for easy tossing.
How to cook roasted corn nuts
- Canned hominy
- Olive oil, vegetable oil, bacon grease, any cooking oil of your choice!
- Seasonings – whatever your heart desires!
Throw the hominy in a colander and rinse. Break up any pieces that have stuck together, then let them drain in a colander for a few minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the airfryer basket, then place the hominy on the bottom of the basket to form a single layer. Close the fryer and set it to 400℉ to dry the hominy and make it more receptive to fat.
Once the fryer is hot, drizzle the hominy with oil and stir. Close the fryer and cook for 13-22 minutes, shaking 3-4 times, until the corn nuts are firm and crispy when you shake them in the basket. Transfer to paper towels, season generously—seriously, they’re hard to oversalt—and let cool completely. (Corn nuts will continue to crunch as they cool. Hot nuts = chewy nuts.)