(Ecuadorian, Peruvian toasted corn snack)
Cancha, a popular snack in Peru and Ecuador, is made with a special type of large-kerneled corn called maíz chulpe or maíz cancha chulpe. The dried kernels are tossed with oil and toasted in a hot skillet until they are browned and puffed. A simple sprinkling of salt and the cancha is ready to eat.
Maíz chulpe is available at many Latino grocery stores. If you can't find it near you, the plain version of the American snack called "corn nuts" is essentially the same thing as cancha.
Cancha is often served with ceviche or a cold beer.
4 to 6 servings as an appetizer
- Maíz chulpe (see notes) -- 2 cups
- Vegetable or olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Regular or sea salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium flame. Add the chulpe and toss to coat with the oil. Cover the pan and cook as you would for popcorn, shaking the pan from time to time to keep the kernels from burning. The kernels will begin popping (without turning inside out like popcorn) and will take on a golden brown color. They are done when the popping subsides, about 10 minutes.
- Toss the cancha with salt to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.