Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spicy grilled corn . . an Asian twist on an American tradition

Phyllis Louise Harris
July 2016

One summer afternoon when I was a teenager my dad took our family on a car trip in the country west of the Twin Cities. About half way to our destination we started following a Green Giant truck filled with just harvested sweet corn. The huge mound of big, plump ears of corn in their bright green leafy husks jostled as the truck rolled along and every time it hit a bump in the road a cob or two of corn would fall off onto the road in front of us. My dad, being an old Iowa farmer and former restaurant owner, could not pass up free food and would stop to send one of us kids out to pick up the fallen corn. By the time we got to our destination we had several dozen ears and they were the best tasting corn I ever had! Or, so I remember.

Maybe it is that memory that had made it so difficult to find corn as sweet and juicy as those Green Giant castoffs. So when I buy fresh corn at the farmers’ market and it turns out to be less than perfect, it is disappointing. Fortunately, I found a wonderful vendor at the Northeast Farmers’ Market on University Avenue in Minneapolis and have enjoyed sweet, tender homegrown corn for several summers. Usually I just boil the shucked corn in water with a little milk and sugar and eat it with nothing else. Why spoil perfection?! I make sure there are leftovers that I put in a plastic bag and store in the freezer for mid-winter dining.

Since the corn harvest begins this month here’s a corn recipe from “Asian Flavors…Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875.”  Its flavors are from India but the corn is strictly Minnesota.

For four ears of corn, remove the silk and husks from the corn, rinse and soak in cold water for 20 minutes. Remove corn from water and dry off with paper towels. Place the corn directly on a medium hot charcoal-grill about 4 inches above the heat. Cook uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes turning occasionally until the corn is tender and shows browned kernels among the gold. 

Mix together –
 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves. 

Cut a lime into 4 wedges and dip each wedge into the spice mixture then rub it over each cooked ear of corn. Serve hot.

Check the Minnesota Grown Directory www.minnesotagrown.com for corn growers near you. There is nothing better than freshly picked sweet and tender corn on the cob! Happy summer dining!!!



Read more about Asian food in Minnesota and try more than 160 recipes in Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875, in bookstores and on amazon.com.
Watch the EMMY® award winning “Asian Flavors” television show based on the book on tpt MN. Check local TV listings for broadcast times or view the show streaming online at: