You have tried the hard way. Now try the heart’s way, the effortless way.
Here’s a simple dish we had in Mexico highlighting fresh sweet summer corn -Mexican Street Corn with chilies, cilantro and lime. One night, in the small town of Sayulita, a little street cart, lined up with customers was serving up cups and cups of this- also called Esquites, Elotes, or Vasito de Elotes, which means “little corn cups”. Such a delicious late night snack! Street food vendors often line the avenues at night with their flavorful antojitos which literally translates to “little cravings” – some of the best food I’ve had there. Since then, I’ve been chomping at the bit to make this, waiting for sweet summer corn to come into season.
This version can be kept vegan or feel free to add feta or Cojita cheese for extra richness and depth of flavor. Many authentic versions also include mayo and butter, but here I’ve intentionally left these out to create a lighter, healthier version.
Serve this up with a piece of grilled fish or chicken, or add a side of heirloom beans, tomatoes and avocado and turn it into a vegetarian meal. The leftovers can be folded into tacos the next day, added to buddha bowls, or used as a dip with corn chips. You’ll have no problem using up these leftovers, I promise.
This version of Mexican Street Corn starts with fresh sweet summer corn, with the kernels shaved off the cobs.
A little tip: There is a tendency to hold the corn cobs straight up and vertical while slicing downward…. which inevitably gets corn kernels everywhere. Try laying the ear of corn down and slice downward for a more controlled approach.
Save the cobs and add to your next batch of veggie stock for delicious flavor.
Here I’ve simply sautéed the corn, with shallot, chilies, garlic and spices.
Another way is to grill the corn first, especially if you are grilling anyways, and the charred bits of corn add delicious flavor!
A very simple side dish, yet so full of flavor- and it goes perfectly with so many other Mexican inspired dishes.
Here are some other dishes to pair this with:
Salsa Macha Bowl ( just make the chicken or tofu)
Quick Grilled Fish Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw ( just make the fish)
Mexican Street Corn ( Elotes)
Mexican Street Corn ( off the cob) called Elotes. This lighter version is made without traditional mayo and can be kept vegan. Flavorful and healthy, serve it as a side dish with grilled meats or fish.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-5
- Category: side dish
- Method: saute or gill
- Cuisine: mexican
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot- diced
- ½ a jalapeno or red chili- finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves- rough chopped
- 4 ears corn ( 4-5 cups corn)- shucked and kernels sliced off
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder ( or sub smoked paprika or chili powder)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons water or veggie stock
- juice from ½ a lime
- ¼-½ cup crumbled feta ( or sub cojita cheese or queso fresco cheese)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
Heat oil in an extra large skillet over medium heat.
Add shallot and garlic. Saute until golden about 2 minutes, stirring often and lowering heat to med low if it seems too hot. Add chili, saute 1-2 minutes.
Add corn, spices, salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add a splash of stock or water and the lime juice, stir, cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Fold in the optional feta ( or cojito cheese) and half of the cilantro. Taste, adjust salt.
Serve warm in a bowl and top with more cilantro and crumbed feta.
You can also grill the corn whole ( shucked) directly on the grate, letting it a little charred in places. Let them cool, then slice the grilled kernels off the cob and add to the sautéed shallot-garlic- chili mixture in the skillet. Proceed with the recipe form there.
Cojito cheese is traditional here, but sometimes it’s hard to find- feta is a nice easy substitute.
Of course you can always add a dab of butter to this and a couple tablespoons of mayo- for more authenticity. I personally like it better without the mayo. You decide!