Asian-Latin fusion dishes transform sweet corn

A feast of sweet corn was this week’s food-section feature. Cooks who had their fill of munching corn from the cob found recipes in the newspaper’s e-edition for corn soup, soufflé and Mexican street corn, aka elotes.

A south-of-the-border staple, elotes has been bandied about in American food publications quite a bit over the past few summers. This blog posted two recipes last summer that riff on Mexico’s classic on-the-cob presentation. Esquites is essentially a corn salad that combines many of elotes’ flavors. Tuck those same seasonings into empanadas for yet another portable snack.

Years before elotes or esquites were on my radar, I was creating my own Asian-Latin-fusion dish for summertime picnics. In the same vein, the Chicago Tribune’s Leah Eskin shared her potluck-friendly version of fried rice that marries the flavors of elotes’ mayonnaise and chilies with soy sauce and Sriracha.

I think I’d up the ante with some products recently purchased at Medford’s remodeled Asia Grocery Market. Commonly sprinkled over noodle dishes, togarashi is Japan’s answer to Mexico’s Tajín seasoning. In lieu of Sriracha, I’ve been reaching for gochujang, Korea’s fermented red chili paste that packs an umami punch.

Tribune News Service

Elote Fried Rice

4 tablespoons fat (peanut or coconut oil, or lard)

2 thumb-size pieces ginger, peeled and sliced thick

3 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole

2 ears corn, roasted, kernels sliced off cobs

4 cups cooked rice, cooled

2 tablespoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 scallions, trimmed and sliced as thinly as possible

2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie or Just Mayo

½ cup slightly crushed chicharron or roasted peanuts

½ cup cilantro, whole leaves and tender stems

¼ cup grated cotija cheese or nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon Tajín seasoning or ground chilies

Lime wedges, for serving

Sriracha or other hot sauce, for serving

Smoked salt (optional), to taste

Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons of the fat, carefully swirling to coat pan. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry until garlic is fragrant and barely browns, for about 10 seconds. Add corn; stir-fry just to coat with fat, for 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon remaining fat, carefully swirling. Add rice; stir-fry, carefully breaking up any clumps, until just coated and hot, for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce around edge of rice; stir-fry to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining fat as needed.

Turn off heat; stir in the scallions quickly. Transfer to a big serving bowl. Remove ginger and garlic, if desired.

Garnish with squiggles of the mayo, then a shower of the chicharron, cilantro, cotija and Tajín to taste. Serve with the lime wedges, Sriracha and smoked salt on the side.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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