What Is Maize Rice?

Kaci Lane Hindman

Maize rice, also known as mealie rice, is finely cut maize in which the bran and germ has been partly removed. The outer layer and the tip of the corn kernel make up the bran, while the germ is the most inner part. Between these parts is the starch, which is used to make this "rice." Many African recipes include maize rice with everything from peanut butter to soups. Some people in southern Africa call it "samp," but more often when it is ground into more of a flaky texture used more frequently in cereals.

Impoverished people who eat a diet based on corn may develop malnutrition and various vitamin deficiencies.
Impoverished people who eat a diet based on corn may develop malnutrition and various vitamin deficiencies.

Before it becomes maize rice, mature corn is harvested and dried. It is then taken to mills and refined to be made into other products. The corn mills separate the germ and outer hull from the starch or grit. The starch is sold to food companies, where it will become maize rice; it is sold mainly in health food stores and wherever African foods are sold. Just like any other rice, it can be boiled or fried and served with almost anything to add substance and grain to a meal.

Maize is a cereal crop that is grown all over the world.
Maize is a cereal crop that is grown all over the world.

Aside from maize rice, the grit can be used in other foods, such as cereal, snacks, and beer. The starch portion contains many nutrients, and it is rich essential minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins A, C, and E. Maize rice, meal, and other products made from this portion would contain these nutrients. When processed, the germ is used for corn oil and corn meal. When combined with the hull and gluten, the germ is used to make animal feed.

Maize, or corn, is a cereal crop grown all over the world. The United States leads in corn production, followed by parts of Africa, where it is a diet staple. African countries sometimes rely on imports as well, since dry weather conditions often hurt native crop production. Most every place where corn is grown, people eat the entire kernel as a vegetable. Despite the starch portion having nutrition value, a diet relying heavily on corn can lead to vitamin deficiency and malnutrition.

Almost 50 species of maize exist, varying in color, texture, shape, and size. White and yellow maize are used more commonly than other color varieties. Africa and Central America account for most of the white maize consumption, while South America and the Caribbean usually prefer yellow maize. The yellow corn is also popular for making animal feed as it helps give a yellow tint to animal fat, poultry, and egg yolks.

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Discussion Comments


I've seen hominy and rice used together in Mexican cuisine, but I've never seen maize rice before.

Where can I get it from? I checked the health food store, but only found maize meal.

Can I replace regular rice with maize rice in dishes? Will it turn out okay?


@burcidi-- I make samp and beans all the time and it only takes two hours to cook. I'm guessing that it's four hours if you don't soak it. If the beans are fresh, then it might be done even sooner.

Maize rice in general does take long to soften though. Some people think that it will be like regular rice, but it's very different.

What I do is I check on the pot every forty minutes or so to see how it's doing. I check the texture of the maize rice and the beans and if I need to add more water, I do.


I want to make the traditional African samp rice and beans but I read that it will take four hours to cook. I'm planning on soaking both the beans and the samp from the night before. It won't really take four hours right?

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