Firstly – apologies for a late blog. I have been stubbornly trying my hand at making a video. (Sometimes a 7 sec video does the work of 70 words!) You will see the videos – its a clumsy first effort – but its there! And I refused to sit and refine it further as I was too impatient to get this post out!
It’s the monsoons in Western India, and corn grows like a rapidly thriving weed in this season. Our farm in Mahabaleshwar (Mahabaleshwar is known for corn) is throwing them out by the bushels. Unfortunately, my corn loving daughter is in the throes of digging our skulls and bones in the Caribbean. The husband travels around too much and the son and mom are not too fond of corn.
(Check out the anatomy of a cob of corn.)
Nevertheless, the way we roast the corn is something I wanted to share with you. (btw – I looked up the word roast in the thesaurus. It has a completely different meaning than what I am trying to do to the corn!!)
During the monsoon, every corner has a street vendor selling corn. We were in the market in Mahabaleshwar and saw this new technique. It takes longer, but the corn gets less burnt and tastes way sweeter.
The corn is peeled off all its layers, except the last. The silk (long strands) stays inside that layer. Then over hot charcoal, the corn is cooked, turning it repeatedly, along with the last layer of the husk (leaves). What happens is that the corn inside starts getting steam cooked, and the sweetness of the silk (the long thin strands) and the flavour of the husk (leaves) permeates into the kernel.
Once the leaf layer, burns off, you will start seeing the kernels. The corn might burn a bit if you are not careful and if the flame is too high (as it did when I shot the video!). So one has to be a bit careful here.
After the last bit of husk and silk are burnt off, and you feel the corn has cooked (press a kernel and check) you can manually peel away the rest of the (now semi-charred) husk.
Your corn is now ready to eat.In India, we rub this corn with a slice of lemon, dipped in salt and red chilly powder. While rubbing the corn, squeeze the lemon wedge into the corn. You can make it as tart and as spicy as you like. This is a typical street style corn on the cob.
I make this very often for the husband. But this time around I made Mexican style street style corn (next on the blog). The son had taken us to an excellent restaurant in San Diego, called Puesto. Mexican food bug bit me hard there. The menu was so very different from the typical Nachos, and Burritos. There is another dish that I have to put up on the blog soon – Street style fruits. I was very reluctant to let go of the water glass they had served it in. Bits of the spicy tangy mix was left over and I wanted to push my face in and lick it clean. I think letting go of the glass was as difficult as letting go of my kid when she first went to kindergarten.
Its the season to walk hand in hand with your partner or kid, get wet in the rains and munch on a hot spicy corn on the cob, straight from the street vendor. Go do yourself this favour – immediately!!
Then bring back home some corn and try roasting it my way too! How you eat it is up to you! 😛
- Start the charcoal grill. When flames are medium high peel the cob, till the last layer of husk (leaf) remains on the kernels.
- Start roasting the corn on the fire. Keep turning the cob repeatedly.
- Once the husk starts burning off, your corn might burn so be careful and turn the corn faster.
- Check a kernel to test for doneness.
- If you think the corn is ready, manually remove the left over husk and silk. Be careful, it might be hot.
- Mix the salt and red chilly powder.
- Dip the wedge of line into the salt and chilly mix and rub into the cob, squeezing the lime a little all along the way.
- Serve hot on a thick wad of husk - the Indian way of eating it.