We just took the kids camping for the first time….well, it was my first time too. It was a lot of fun, we camped by the lake and our campsite was right next to a beach like spot with easy access to the water for the kids. It was gorgeous……perfect weather, not too sunny, lower temperatures, thick green trees everywhere, and clear blue waters !!! It also coincided with Fathers Day and V loved the fact that he got to spend time with the kids. Both of us have always preferred time spent with the kids as gifts for mothers or fathers day, so it made the trip all the more special. After a little frolic in the water, we built a little fire and settled down to grill some food….only in our case it was all veggies……I know many of you are shaking your heads and going are you crazy, but we’re vegetarians !!! I had marinated the veggies in a Mediterranean / African/ Middle Eastern marinade, but thats a recipe for another day. Today its all about the corn that we grilled….. V’s favourite dish of the night !!
The moment I put the corn on the grill, I was transported back to my childhood!!! A guy walking down the street with his cart shouting “bhutta” (Hindi for corn), the smoke from the red, smoking coals under his grill gently rising in the air. The smell of the sweet corn would permeate the air. After you pick your corn, he would grill it in front of you and once it was ready……..not charred, just swelled and plump, he would dip a lime wedge into a mixture of spices and rub it all over the corn. When you sink your teeth into the corn, your senses explode ……..sweet plump kernels, roasted to perfection…….tiny flames of heat from the cayenne hitting the back of your throat and lingering ….. the lime cutting thru the sweetness and elevating it to a sublime experience!!!
This is classic Indian street food that you would find generally at the beginning of the rainy season or the monsoons. The smell of the damp earth would mingle with aroma of beautifully roasted corn. Young and old would gather around the cart and enjoy this warm toasty treat !!! Yes, I am talking in the past sense as these are the things I remember from my childhood !!! I tried to recreate this kernel of my life for my kids…..the life I had left behind when I married their father, when we last went to India but somehow it didn’t translate…..the kids didnt enjoy the corn as much. That’s when I realized that though the corn in my memories were sweet , the corn in India is not the sweet corn found here in the states. I feel like I am betraying the country of my birth by just saying this….however the memories associated with this food will never fade and I will always cherish those moments when there were no worries, no responsibilities just innocence. I realized that “food” memories are more than just the taste…..they are memories of the time, place and the people you associate with that food!!! The kids did enjoy the experience though, as they walked down the streets that I had walked thru as a child, listening to my stories….all the time shaking their head in wonder that I was once a child too !!!
While I mess around with almost every classic recipe, I generally prefer to leave this one alone. The only alteration I make is adding a little chaat masala to the spice mix, which in itself is simple just cayenne and salt. Omit it and you have what I grew up with……cayenne, salt and lime on warm roasted albeit sweet kernels of corn. Delicious!!
Grilled Indian Style Corn
4 fresh ears of Corn
Oil to brush on the corn
2-3 tbsp. Kosher Salt/Sea Salt/ Pink Himalayan Salt
½ tsp. Red Chili powder/ Cayenne
1 Lime, cut into wedges
½ tsp. Chaat Masala (optional)
(You can either a grill pan on the stove or an outdoor barbeque grill. You can even grill it a 400-450 degree oven.
A couple of options now…if you don’t like the slightly charred quality, pull the husks back to the base, remove the silk and then cover again with the husk or remove the husk and silk and cover with foil. The second option is remove the husk and silk completely before putting it on the grill.)
Mix together the red chili powder, salt and chaat masala.
Brush the ears of corn with oil and place on the grill at medium heat. Keep turning until it has black spots and is slightly charred. Should take about 8-10 minutes.
Once its done, take a wedge of lime and dip into the spice mix and rub it all over the corn making sure to lightly squeeze the lime while rubbing.
This is off to “lets cook for fathers day” at Simply Sensational Food, “Family Foodies- Al Fresco” at Eat Your Veg , ” Simple and in Season ” at Renbehan and “ Shop Local ” at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
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