Once I discovered how easy, and more importantly, fun, messing around in the kitchen could be (dis), I started looking into even more “easy” recipes! That’s how I came across the recipe for Elote (also known as Mexican Street Corn).
Although the presentation ends up looking… messy (it was next to impossible to find an appetizing picture of this stuff online), it actually tastes unbelievably delicious! To the extent that people legit beg for the recipe (and I end up leaving my spices behind, as I’ve mentioned earlier)!
Typically, Elote is sold by street vendors in Mexico hence Mexican Street Corn.
Basically, the Corn is roasted over an open grill, smothered in tangy Mexican Crema or Crema Fresca (which can be substituted with Sour Cream or even just Mayonnaise), generously sprinkled with Spices (usually a little bit of Salt and Garlic Powder and a ton of Chili Powder and a ton of Cayenne Pepper Powder) and equally generously
sprinkled coated with Cotija Cheese (which can be substituted with Feta Cheese) with the final step being Limes (pre-cut into wedges) squeezed over the entire thing. An extra step is Cilantro (or whatever leafy greens you prefer) for garnish, but I tend to skip it.
Ideally, all that should be done while the Corn was still steaming hot, so that everything would melt together, combining all the different flavors, to create the deliciousness that is… Elote!
From here on out, all the photos shown were taken by my phone (S9+) which is kinda’ obvious lol
Before, I used to sprinkle the stuff on the Corn in turn (as in first the Salt and then the Chili Powder, and so on) hence the need to take mah Spices and stuff with me. To save time, now I just mix everything up (aside from the Cheese) and then coat the Corn (while it’s steamin’ hot) with the Mixture.
Ideally, I’d use Light Mayo (tastes less egg-y), but in this instance, I just used whatever was laying around the house (fridge, rather) which was this stuff. For a more authentic taste, I’ve searched for Mexican Creme and Crema Fresca all over Kuwait, but found neither, so Mayo it is. I’d say squeeze out a dollop of Mayo for every 6-8 pieces. It’s not an exact science. I dunno’… just eyeball it lol
To make the Mayo less thick, I’ll add anywhere from a quarter cup to half a cup of Cream. It makes the Mayo taste less egg-y and makes the Mixture easier to maneuver later on. It’s not a personal preference, but I’ll usually go for KDD Liquid Cream (red packaging) for any recipes that require the use of Cream, because this stuff is easily accessible (you can find it anywhere in Kuwait), and I’ve already used it in both sweet and savory dishes in the past, and it works!
I’ll only use what’s on the spoon (not the entire plate) and even then, only because I was serving 12+ because usually I’d need way less. I don’t like using too little, where it doesn’t even make a difference, but I also don’t like using too much, where you can barely taste anything else because of that garlick-y aftertaste. The ratio has to be juuust right.
The reason why this stuff was on a plate, was because it came in that ridiculously stupid, flimsy, clear, plastic packaging which exploded all over me (and everything else in the vicinity) when I tried to open it. I salvaged what little I could (there was some left at the very bottom of the clear plastic packet) and dumped it on a plate so I could use it. Once I was done, our live-in Cook would find something more practical to store the rest of it in (he knew where all those little storage containers and whatnot were located, because the kitchen was his domain and I was merely a guest lol).
Paprika Powder + Cayenne Chili Powder
Finally, the good stuff! The “traditional recipe” calls for Cayenne Powder whereas I just tend to really enjoy Paprika Powder so I add it to everything! These two were from my latest trip to Saveco (dis). Like I said, I purposefully went for the cheaper stuff this time, because I always end up leaving them behind (whenever I decide to prepare Elote for an outdoor gathering or whatever).
Honestly, I just go ham with this stuff! More is more!
Sicilia Lime/Lemon Juice
Again, the “authentic recipe” calls for fresh Limes, but I’ve only ever used those once (the very first time I made Elote). The Limes were tiny (literally no juice in them) and extremely difficult to cut perfectly in half… and just made me feel like a failure at life lol
Every other time after that, I just used Sicilia Lime Juice (extracted from x5 Limes). However, I couldn’t find the Sicilia Lime Juice (green packaging), so I just used Sicilia Lemon Juice (yellow packaging). That said, Elote tastes substantially yummier, doused with Lime Juice, as opposed to Lemon Juice.
American Heritage Grated Parmesan Cheese
I hit up the entire country looking for Cotija Cheese for a more “authentic” flavor, but came up with nada’ (even at Saveco). Typically, people substitute it with Feta Cheese, but since I can’t stand that stuff, I just go for either Parm or Cheddar instead.
I like American Heritage mostly because of the convenience of the packaging (the sifter holes are huge, meaning it doesn’t take a year to get any Cheese to sprinkle out). Also, they come in all kinds of sizes, as I’ve mentioned earlier (dis).
These make make my life easier, when I’m trying to twirl the Corn around to coat it with whatever or when it’s just too hot to hold). If you prefer something cuter, Lakeland sells Corn Skewers, which I’ve actually purchased, but since I was serving, you know, a million people, I didn’t have enough for everyone, so I had to make do with these Sticks lol
That said, you don’t really need Sticks or Corn Skewers. If possible, just don’t cut the stem… okay, apparently it’s called a shank. Whatever. Point is, don’t cut the thing at the bottom (that’s not called a stem lol), the shank or whatever, and just use that as “Corn Holder” instead.
The very first time I prepared Elote, I searched high and low, all over the country, for non-frozen Corn. The only place I could find that stuff was at the Fish Market (next door to Souq Sharq). The Corn still had the husk and everything (which was exactly what I had been searching for because I wanted “fresh” Corn). Unfortunately, after de-husking the Corn, turns out the actual size of the Corn Cob was tiny! Even the kernels looked all sad and dried out lol
Ever since then, I’ve learned to only purchase a pack or two of frozen Corn. For starters, you can find the frozen stuff at any given Supermarket (unlike the “fresh” stuff). More importantly, the Corn is significantly larger (and maybe it’s just my imagination, but also sweeter). Plus, they’re cleaner (de-husked and everything) and therefore faster and easier to prepare.
Typically, I’d take the Corn with me (for example, to a rooftop barbecue) and then get whichever dude manning the grill (it’s always a dude) to grill the Corn for everyone, before I swoop in to add the Mayo and Spices and whatnot (while it was still hot, I cannot emphasize this enough).
However, if firing up the grill wasn’t an option, you could always just boil or even bake the Corn. In fact, that’s what I did in this instance. I just boiled them instead.
Then, I had the Cook set aside whatever he was working on, and help me shove those Sticks into the Corn lol
While still extremely hot, I’d coat the Corn with the Mixture. You could brush the Mixture onto the Corn using a Basting Brush if you wanna’ be all foncy foncy, but I just used the back of a Spoon lol
Like I said, those Sticks made it easier to twirl the Corn around, so I could coat each of them equally, with the Mixture.
Coat, twirl, coat, twirl, coat, twirl, and so on.
The last step is to generously sprinkle on da’ Cheese!
You can use whatever, provided it’s either grated or shredded or chopped up into tiny pieces. I tend to alternate between Parm and Cheddar (both from American Heritage), because it’s just what I prefer.
Basically, you just continue doing the same thing with the Cheese that you already did with the Mixture. Coat, twirl, coat, twirl, etc…
The end result (from the Corn, to the Workstation, to the actual Serving Dish) always ends up looking messy lol Just do an Image Search on Elote and you’ll notice the majority (even the ones with well-lit settings and fancy serve-ware and whatnot) all look less than appetizing (especially the ones with garnish). There’s just no way around it lol
So I’ll switch out the messy Serving Plate for a pristine one, to make the whole thing look marginally better lol
Typically, I’d prepare these, one at a time (so everything melts together and gets less messy) and hand each one individually to each person, in turn. However, since I was making this stuff at home and was going to serve it to everyone at the same time, I had to prepare Elote en masse, hence the mess.
Also, the Corn had cooled (still extremely hot, but no longer steamin’) and therefor wouldn’t melt the Cheese, which made the Cheese less inclined to stick to the Corn. That’s why I keep reiterating the importance of heat and speed.
Between the sweetness of the Corn, the saltiness of the Cheese, the spiciness of the Cayenne Powder, the tanginess of the Lime, etc… the whole thing tastes insanely delicious!
Everyone has their own way of preparing Elote (to each their own), but this is the way I do it.
I usually take a small thing of sealed Toothpicks with me, whenever I’m making Elote outdoors, and end up leaving them behind for everyone (along with the Cheese and Spices). Toothpicks are greatly appreciated… for after.