Warm Mexican Corn Salad
EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: MONSOON TREATS
RECIPE: WARM MEXICAN CORN SALAD/ ESQUITES
Warm Mexican Corn Salad, also known as Esquites is a tangy and spicy salad that I love to have not as a side dish but as a light delicious meal. What I like about this salad that it is versatile in several ways.
Which Corn Is Best For This Salad?
Though fresh sweet corn is the best, frozen or tinned corn can be used.
How to Cook the Corn
- Grill, roast or simply sauté in a pan. If you’re going to grill the corn on the BBQ grill then soak them with the covering for 1-2 hours. Grill or roast for about 5-10 minutes. The soaked covering prevents the corn from burning. Or wrap each cob with aluminum foil and grill.
- Can brush the corn cobs with oil and grill under the grill or broiler. Keep an eye on them as you will need to turn the corn so that it doesn’t get burnt on one side.
- Or simply pan roast them.. tender corn, frozen corn (defrosted) or canned corn is easy to pan roast.
How to Serve Mexican Corn Salad?
Serve it cold or warm.
Which Cheese To Use?
Traditionally Cotija Cheese is used but if you don’t get any, then use feta cheese. I usually use feta as I don’t cotija. Paneer may make a fairly good substitute but add some salt to it.
I’m sure those reasons are enough for you to try out this easy peasy salad. During the rainy season, corn is so tender that it doesn’t take much time to cook when sautéed in a pan.
Sour Cream or Mayo?
Mexican Street Corn Salad usually has a generous dollop of mayo in it but here I’ve omitted it as I’m not a huge fan of it. However, feel free to add some if you wish. You may use sour cream. As I didn’t have any, and didn’t want to buy some, I omitted sour cream simply because I didn’t any leftover as I was closing down my kitchen. But it definitely tastes better with it.
A trick that I learnt from my late sister in law was to allow the cobs to cook whole in a wide pan with little oil and salt. Cover the pan, shake it occasionally and within 5 minutes the tender succulent corn is ready. Allow it to cool a bit. Using a sharp knife strip the kernel off the cobs. But for this recipe, since I wanted a warm salad, I cut the kernel off the cob first before cooking it.
While on Mexican Salad, recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a Cactus Pear Salad and it was super delicious, refreshing, light, tangy and so summery.
A bit about the group:
Every month a new theme is chosen by members. Then the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme. As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group and other try and guess the secret ingredients. Towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Furthermore, this way members get to know each other and interact with each other.
This Month’s Theme
For the month of July Shobha who blogs at Shobha’s Food Mazaa suggested the theme MONSOON TREATS. When she suggested the theme, I was thinking “what am I going to make, its so hot here.” But suddenly the weather changed in Mombasa. Day time hot and evenings became cold, to the extend that I had to actually pull out a sweater from the suitcase. In 38 years that I’ve lived in Mombasa, never have I worn a sweater or used a shawl! This was a first.
Next day my veggie lady as I call her came with nice tender corn and immediately I bought them. Now it was a waiting game with my partner to see what she suggests as my secret ingredients.
Coming back to Shobha, I’ve had the opportunity to meet her once in Mumbai and she is such a friendly and helpful person. When I first started my You Tube Channel she was and still is a great help, suggesting how I should make it more effective. Shobha’s Corn Chaat is very tempting. Can image enjoying that as a light meal followed by super tempting Amrakhand Popsicles.
For the Monsoon Treat theme Shobha made delicious and healthy Drumstick Soup. Check out her video or recipe on how to make it in a jiffy.
Some Monsoon Treats To Check Out:
Monsoon in India equates to hot bhajias, hot soups, piping hot snacks, masala tea and as corn is readily available, lots of recipes using corn. While we don’t rains like in India, a slight drizzle or change in temperature and I just want an excuse to enjoy Monsoon Treats:
- You’ve got to try out this Spanish Potato Dish, Patatas Bravas, so comforting and filling during the cold season.
- Hot beetroot vada is perfect as a snack.
- Piping hot Peas & Potato Pattis with some mango or mint chutney is the ultimate comfort food.
- Methi na Gota is what my mum would make whenever the weather became a bit too cold in Nairobi.
- Have you tried hot freshly fried Mangalore Buns with filter coffee? You’ve got to try it, so delicious.
- Ambode/ Masala Vada with some spicy tea.. perfect Monsoon treat.
- Enjoy a healthier snack made in a paniyaram pan – Moong paniyaram.
- Growing up remember my mum and aunts would make papdi no lot especially when it is raining. And Nairobi can be cold when its raining. Piping hot papdi no lot drizzled with oil, so yummy.
- Enjoy some hot steamed White Dhokra/ Idra/ Idada.
- What can be better than a hot cup of Homemade Tomato Carrot Soup between your hands.
- Don’t forget to sip on some hot rasam to keep the cold away.
- My all time favorite during the cold season is Uji.
- A slightly gooey buckwheat and brown rice khichdi is the best filling and comforting food during the rainy season.
- And when it comes to hot desserts, it has to be Shiro (sooji halwa).
Though I had added my name to participate in the Monsoon Treats theme, I was actually wondering whether I would be able to cope and make something before I closed down my kitchen. Why did I close down my kitchen you must be wondering. Well after a wait of nearly 3 years, our Permanent Residency for Canada, sponsored by my son came through. Sudden plans were made to travel immediately before borders on either side closed down due to the Covid Pandemic. It truly was a mad rush for me getting things organized but we managed.
I explained my predicament to my partner Poonam and she graciously asked me what I have at hand to use up. By the way, do spare some time to visit Poonam’s blog Annapurna for some healthy and tasty recipes. Feta and lemon were still in my fridge and she suggested I use those. First I thought of the famous viral TikTok feta pasta. That’s when Esther, the veggie lady turns up with sweet corn. And everything fell into place. I gave Poonam paneer and black pepper and she prepared the super tempting Paneer Cheese Balls which I’d love to try out. On the list also is her makai palak which I loved to have with hot phulka.
This month I had to partner with two participants, which usually happens if we have an odd number of participants. My second partner is Priya Iyer who blogs at The World Through My Eyes. Her version of Choclo Al Comino, Peruvian style corn is what I’m going to try out ASAP. I suggested that she uses tomato and garlic to prepare her Monsoon Treat. Priya has come up with a wonderful homemade, from scratch recipe of my favourite, Baked Beans. She has used black eyed peas.
Ingredients Required For Warm Mexican Corn Salad:
- Sweet Corn – best to use fresh if possible. However, you can use frozen or canned ones too.
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Tomato – remove the pulp and dice. I usually use up the pulp for dals, soups or curries.
- Fresh Coriander – washed and chopped
- Lemon/Lime Juice – add according to your taste
- Salt – use sparingly as feta is salty
- Paprika Powder
- Red Chilli Powder -for a bit pf spiciness
- Black Pepper Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Oil – any oil of your choice. I used sunflower oil.
- Sour Cream or Mayonnaise
WARM MEXICAN CORN SALAD/ESQUITES
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels I used approx 3 cobs
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 large red onion
- ¼ cup feta cheese or cotija cheese
- ¼ cup fresh coriander chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp cumin seed powder
- ¼ tsp pepper powder
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tbsp oil
- First of all peel the leaves off the cob, remove the silky threads and run a knife lengthwise to cut the corn kernels off the cob.
- Peel and dice the onion.
- Cut the tomatoes into halves, scoop out the pulp. Dice the tomatoes.
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add the butter and stir to melt. Immediately add the corn kernel.
- Add salt and mix well. Cover the pan and allow the corn to cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on tender the corn is. If using canned or precooked corn then the stir fry till it becomes hot.
- Add paprika, pepper,cumin seed and red chilli powders. Mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Add chopped tomatoes, onion and lemon/lime juice. Mix well.
- Then add in the chopped coriander and feta cheese. Mix well.
- If using sour cream or mayonnaise then mix that in.
- Serve warm salad immedaitely with some extra sour cream and lemon wedge on the side.
- Don't throw away the tomato pulp. Add it to dals, curries or soups.
- Replace sour cream with mayonnaise if you prefer.
- Don't overcook the corn as you don't want it to become hard and chewy.
- If you don't get fresh corn, use frozen or canned.
- The quantity of ingredients is a rough guideline for the recipe, use more or less of any ingredients you prefer.
- Add chopped avocado, bell pepper.
- I prefer adding a bit of oil as that prevents the butter from burning.
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