Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry

May 14, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

RECIPE: Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry

Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry is a creamy, spicy, delicious vegan curry. Corn cobs are cut into smaller pieces and cooked in a tomato and coconut based curry. The fun part of this curry is that after biting off the kernels you can use the corn to mob up the curry and suck it. To do that, the curry obviously has to be thick and not watery.

Tender Yellow |White  Pearls

Rains mean fresh corn. Yellow or white they are both very tender, milky and taste very nice during the rainy season. Roasted, boiled or in a curry form. Call it anything you like, corn, maize, sweetcorn, makai, bhuta. Corn is rich in carbohydrates,dietary fibres, thiamin and folates. Low in sodium and saturated fat. I love this shaak or curry. It is a ‘keep your guests busy’ curry. Use any corn you prefer, white or yellow.
The gravy is thickened by the coarse peanut powder. Silky creaminess is mainly from the coconut milk or coconut cream used.

Variations Of Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry

Corn season meant that this curry was prepared in a big sufuria (pan) for the whole family to enjoy it with parathas or bhakri. Sometimes my mum would make it without the coconut milk and sometimes with it. Instead of coconut, she would use fresh cream. Back then we hardly use to get the yellow variety of corn. It was always the white one. Mum would argue with the vegetable lady, insisting she wants milky tender corn and not the hard ones. Buying the right corn was a ritual that would result in lot of bantering between the buyer and seller.

Trick Of Checking Tenderness Of The Corn

Usually everyone checks the top half of the corn… but that will be tender. The way to check if the whole cob is tender, slowly make a slit through the husk or covering in the middle of the corn and press a kernel. If tender, milk should ooze out.
If people don’t enjoy biting the corn off the cob then you can prepare Makai Paka.
After my marriage and coming down to the Coastal Area, this curry without coconut was unheard of.
So go ahead and make it the way you want to but enjoy fresh tender corn while the season lasts.

Ingredients Required For Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry

  • Fresh Corn On The Cob – make sure the corn is tender. Use either white or yellow one.
  • Water – normal tap water to cook the corn cobs and for the curry.
  • Onion – red, yellow or white. Peeled and finely chopped.
  • Garlic – peeled and minced.
  • Ginger – peeled and grated or minced.
  • Green Chillis – paste. Use according to your taste.
  • Coconut Milk – use a good quality thick coconut milk for that lovely silky creamy curry.
  • Peanuts – roasted and powdered coarsely. Roast the peanuts in the preheated oven @150ºC for 20-25 minutes. Allow them to cool down a bit. Rub them between your palms gently to remove the skin. Make the coarse powder in the food processor using short bursts or use a pestle and mortar.
  • Turmeric Powder – need for boiling the corn and also for the curry.
  • Red Chilli Powder – optional. If the green chillis are hot you may not need to add chilli powder.
  • Coriander Cumin Powder – if you don’t have it add 1 tsp coriander powder and ¼ tsp cumin powder.
  • Whole Cloves, Cinnamon and Black Pepper Corns – using them whole adds a subtle flavour to the curry without being overpowering and also doesn’t change the colour of the curry.
  • Fresh Tomato Puree – use either fresh tomatoes pureed in a blender or canned.
  • Salt – will need some for boiling the corn and also for the curry.
  • Sugar – optional to balance the tangy tomato puree flavour.
  • Oil – use any oil of your choice. I have used sunflower oil.
  • Mustard Seeds – whole for tempering.
  • Cumin Seeds – for tempering.
  • Fresh Coriander/Cilantro – chopped for garnishing.




Kenyan Style Corn On The Cob Coconut Curry is a creamy, spicy, delicious vegan curry. Corn cobs are cut into smaller pieces and cooked in a tomato and coconut based curry.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course curry, Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine Kenyan
Servings 4



  • 2 big cobs of corn about 12-14 pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder


  • 1 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp chilli paste
  • ¼ cup tomato puree
  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup peanuts coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder optional
  • 1 cup water



  • Husk or remove the other leaves and the silky threads.
  • Cut each corn into 6 to 7  pieces. So from two corns you will get 12 to 14 pieces depending on the size of the corn.
  • Wash the corn and put it in the pressure cooker.


  • Add the 3 cups of water and salt and pressure cook it for 2 to 3 whistles over medium heat.
  • When done, remove it from the water and keep the corn on the side. At this stage you can remove the kernel of  3 to 4 pieces if you like.


  • Heat oil in a deep pan or wide pan.
  • When it is slightly hot, add the cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns.
  • Add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  • When they splutter, add the onions and stir fry till they are light pink in colour.
  • Add  garlic, chilli and ginger paste. Stir fry for a few seconds. Add the coarsely powdered peanuts.
  • Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add  turmeric, chilli, and coriander cumin powder. Mix well.
  • Add the tomato puree and 1 cup of water. Cook it for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add  salt and sugar if using any.
  • Add the corn and coconut curry. Mix well and let it simmer over medium heat till the gravy thickens a bit. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with hot chapatis, parathas, puri or rice.


  • I usually roast the peanuts at 150°C in the oven till the skin comes off when rubbed in between the finger and thumb. I store these roasted and shelled peanuts to use in curries, salads, cookies etc.
  • If you do not want to use coconut milk, increase the amount of tomato puree.
  • If you don't have coconut milk, use coconut cream. Increase the quantity of water for the curry.
  • If you are making this curry for young kids then remove the kernels from the cob.
  • Can use cashew nuts instead of peanuts.
Keyword corn on the cob curry, Kenyan Style Corn Coconut Curry, kenyan style corn on the cob coconut curry, makai nu shaak






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