Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

When this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club theme was announced, I was incredibly excited. The theme was gata, which is Filipino for coconut milk. Anything made with coconut milk was fair game, and the posts so far have covered both savory and sweet bases. With the wealth of choices available, I expected to be overwhelmed by the task of choosing just one. However, my mind pretty much made itself up for me early on, and despite my attempts to steer it toward more creative lines, it stubbornly held on to its first choice.

It’s an understandable choice, since I’m in New Jersey and have access to incredibly sweet corn grown in a field right in our town. Corn with coconut milk, or ginataang mais, is very simple to make. You don’t even need to dirty your measuring cups. We have many versions of sweet porridge-type merienda (snacks) goodies made with coconut milk, and this one is the easiest. You can enjoy it warm or cold, and although I do prefer it cold during the summer, I always end up having it warm first because I simply cannot wait that long after it’s made.

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

The ingredients are fairly easy to come by, too. Just fresh corn (in a pinch, you can use creamed corn, but you really should try and get fresh corn), coconut milk, sugar, water, and sweet rice.

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

Want a closer look at that rice? I get my sweet rice from the local Asian supermarket. If you can’t find any, you can use sushi rice or short-grain rice. But if you’re able to score a bag of sweet rice, don’t you worry about what to do with all that rice. By the time I’m done posting all the other lovely stuff you can do with it, you’ll need another bag.

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

I love sweet rice. It’s an ingredient in many of my favorite Filipino desserts.

This recipe is easy enough to make with kids. You just grab a pot, pour in the contents of the can of coconut milk, fill the can with water, and pour the water in. Then you fill the can halfway with uncooked rice and top off with sugar. Pour that into the pot, and then fill the can with water and pour the water in again. And again. You’ll end up with the can of coconut milk, 3 cans of water, half a can of uncooked rice, and half a can of sugar all in the pot, not to mention a fairly clean can that you can then toss into the recycling bin. The only thing left to do is to boil it until everything gets nice and soft and thick, add in the corn, and boil again until the corn is cooked.

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

As kids, we enjoyed this after playing outside, or when we had an unexpected day off school because of a typhoon. It’s similar to rice pudding, except for the fact that the corn and the coconut milk make it taste nothing like rice pudding. In the Philippines, we made this with fresh coconut milk, often from a coconut picked that same day from one of our trees. Fresh coconut milk gives it such a richness that is lost when using canned coconut milk. I found that adding a few extra ingredients went a long way in trying to achieve the rich taste that I remember.

It’s a great afternoon treat to throw together. And my son Tim says it’s also a wonderful midnight snack. I bet it’d be good for breakfast too, though I’ll have to make a double batch next time in order to test that theory.


Ginataang Mais (Corn with Coconut Milk)
Serves 8

The addition of shredded coconut, butter and vanilla is optional and not traditional. Adding them helps boost the flavor of the dish, which is typically made with fresh coconut milk instead of the canned stuff. If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh coconut milk, omit the optional ingredients.


13.5 oz. can coconut milk
5 cups water
3/4 cup sweet rice (you may substitute sushi rice or short-grain rice)
3/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 tablespoon salted butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
4 to 5 ears fresh corn, shucked and scraped to collect the corn milk

Boil the coconut milk, water, sweet rice, sugar, salt, and shredded coconut (if using) over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. When rice is fully cooked and every grain is plump and sticky (the mixture will resemble runny rice pudding), add the butter, vanilla, and shucked fresh corn. Continue to cook, still stirring occasionally, until everything has thickened nicely. Take off heat and let cool. It will continue to thicken slightly as it cools.

Serve warm or cold.

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

Check out my Kulinarya Cooking Club page, where you’ll find the links to the blogs of all the other members so you can see what everyone else made. I think I should start stocking up on coconut milk, because I want to try them all!



30 Responses to Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)
  1. Annie
    July 26, 2010 | 1:17 am

    It’s raining cats and dogs here at the moment – a perfect day to sit and enjoy your guinataang mais! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. peachkins
    July 26, 2010 | 1:36 am

    wow! it looks really delicious, specially since i can see it’s still hot!

  3. chef_d
    July 26, 2010 | 5:32 am

    This looks so good! Perfect for the rainy days here in Manila now. Thank you for sharing this recipe :)

  4. Jessica @ How Sweet
    July 26, 2010 | 6:37 am

    This is a dish I would love to try. Never had anything like it before.

  5. cusinera
    July 26, 2010 | 7:32 am

    It looks lovely, I really want to cook this dish now…yum!

  6. Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread
    July 26, 2010 | 8:23 am

    Gorgeous! It sounds so delightful, I love the coconut milk in it!

  7. Amy
    July 26, 2010 | 8:33 am

    Yum! We have a fridge full of Silver Queen from my in-laws and this looks like the perfect destination for some of it.
    I do hope you try it! I really wish I made a double batch, because I want some for breakfast now. -ivoryhut

  8. Liam O'Malley
    July 26, 2010 | 10:16 am

    Looks fabulous, I will give this a try ASAP. I love the shot with the steam still coming off the dish.

  9. Asha@FSK
    July 26, 2010 | 10:43 am

    Awesome that you created a sweet dish for this challenge. Coconut milk adds such a wonderful flavor to sweet dishes. Lovely photos too. love the atmosphere in them

  10. Carolyn Jung
    July 26, 2010 | 11:43 am

    That looks so much better than the usual rice pudding. And I love rice pudding to begin with!
    I love rice pudding too, but this really is so much better. I could eat it all day and although you can cook this until the corn is completely soft, I like to leave it with a bit of crunch. It makes me think of summer when corn is sweet enough to eat raw. -ivoryhut

  11. xiuxiu
    July 26, 2010 | 12:05 pm

    Looks good. IS sweet rice the same as sticky rice?
    I don’t think I can find it here in Bergen. I wonder how it taste if I change it with risotto rice?
    Yes, you can use sweet rice or sticky rice. Not sure how it would work with risotto or arborio rice, but since that’s short grain too, I think it’ll work fine! -ivoryhut

  12. alice
    July 26, 2010 | 1:03 pm

    This looks awesome.. I’ve never tried this type of dessert but can’t wait to try it. I have everything I need to make it!

  13. nataliekaren
    July 26, 2010 | 1:09 pm

    yum..this is everything that I love all put together in one dish. Can’t wait to make it

  14. cristina
    July 26, 2010 | 2:34 pm

    As Mark Twain said “the coldest winter is summer in San Francisco”. Yep, it’s cold and foggy right now and as soon as I get home, I’m making this. To keep me warm inside and bring me back to Manila. Salamat!
    Great blog, btw.
    Hi Cristina! Thanks for visiting. Would you mind sending some of that cold weather over? It’s hot and muggy here in NJ, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this anyway. It does bring me back to Manila, which is always a good thing! -ivoryhut

  15. Stella
    July 26, 2010 | 5:17 pm

    Yum, this looks like it would be a wonderful breakfast porridge-love it!

  16. Georgia Pellegrini
    July 26, 2010 | 7:52 pm

    I love coconut milk in just about anything, and this looks like the perfect dish for it. I am definitely trying this soon.
    I love coconut milk in almost anything, too. It’s a good thing Filipino cuisine uses a lot of it. I do miss fresh coconut milk, though. There’s nothing like it. -ivoryhut

  17. syrie
    July 27, 2010 | 2:33 am

    Cannot wait to make this. It’s a perfect sweet treat.

  18. Nicole
    July 27, 2010 | 8:31 am

    Oh wow! This brings me back to my childhood, my grandma used to make this every weekend, one of my favorite comfort food. I’m a chocolate feid but I would rather have this than champorado :)

    Thanks for the recipe. I never got the chance to ask for my grandma’s recipe, she passed away when I was young.

  19. Olive
    July 27, 2010 | 9:09 pm

    Hi! :)

    I love ginataang mais, but I usually use canned sweet corn, I’ll try adding fresh corn next time :)

  20. Serene
    July 29, 2010 | 10:18 pm

    Oh, man, that looks SO good!

  21. Amber
    August 9, 2010 | 8:58 am

    Well, dang. I just figured out my reason to visit the Asian market down the road from me for sweet rice. (Don’t you just love that literally any kind of store you could ever want is found on the US 22?)

    This kind of reminds me of a creamed corn recipe I make, as it calls for sugar too. But oh, man. I DO want this for breakfast. Right now.

  22. ziggy
    August 10, 2010 | 10:19 pm

    beautiful. something so simple yet cooked with utmost care. although it has a similar tone with champorado i’ve never had this before. this is one of those concoctions that reminds you of childhood. :) i love it.

  23. ziggy
    August 12, 2010 | 8:57 pm

    i just made this up today because my wife is sick. it’s beautiful. i’m hoping that she will love it. :) cheers for the recipe!

  24. Lardon My French
    September 20, 2010 | 11:14 am

    Oh I can’t wait to make this… I remember this from my childhood and it always brings back that warm comfort food feeling. Thanks so much for posting it!

  25. […] suddenly had this craving of Ginataang Mais or Coconut Rice Pudding with Sweet Corn. I saw this recipe on FoodGawker a while back while I was still in the Philippines and absolutely loved it. So I […]

  26. Melissa
    January 21, 2013 | 12:36 pm

    My uncle is Filipino and growing up he would make this for us kids! I’m still trying to get him to show me his recipe but this one is just as good too! I’m not Filipino but I was brought up on some of the great food like his coconut chicken with eggplant and cabbage, and also his “panset”!

  27. […] Recipe Link […]

    September 7, 2013 | 9:52 am

    I didn’t know what my mom made tonight and she made exactly the same one like this so now I know it’s Ginataang Mais because I had always forget all the names of our Filipino foods except not all of them that I don’t know. It’s one of my favourite! But I always want to learn how to make Ginataang Mais on my own but probably next time.

  29. Hannah
    December 8, 2014 | 10:01 am

    I think I must have messed up. Mine kept trying to boil over and I must not have cooked it long enough. 1 can coconut milk, 3 cans of water, half can of rice, half can of sugar, to shaka shaka’s from a salt shaker. I put it on 4 (my stove goes to 10) and I stirred occasionally. I also threw in a pinch of saffron.

    I brought it up to a boil and it kept trying to boil over, so I lowered the heat to a simmer but I worried I was going to burn the rice, so I added the corn, stirred, and after 5 minutes of boiling dumped the pot into a bowl. I have rice corn soup.

    Should I return it all to my pan for more cooking? A bigger pan perhaps? *frustrated*

    • ivoryhut
      December 8, 2014 | 10:07 am

      Hi Hannah! Sorry you’re having trouble with it. What kind of rice did you use? Is the rice cooked enough? If it is, and if the liquid tastes right but still feels soupy, I would just add a bit of cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. (Start with 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 2 teaspoons water, then stir it in over heat. You want the mixture to be hot as you add the slurry in so that it thickens properly.) A lot of the thickness comes from the starch from the rice, but if the rice doesn’t release enough starch, it won’t be as thick as it should be. If the rice isn’t cooked enough yet, I would go ahead and return it to a pan (perhaps try a wider pan, so more of the liquid evaporates) and just stir regularly to prevent the rice from burning. Hope that helps!

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I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.