How to make Mexican-style street corn

This Mexican classic smothered in creamy, spicy goodness is a real crowd pleaser. Beverley Hicks recalls her first taste and shares a recipe for corn perfection

Beverley Hicks
Tuesday 11 September 2018 11:39 BST
Enjoy this treat after a fiesta
Enjoy this treat after a fiesta (Photography by Beverley Hicks)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


My first experience of Mexican street corn, also known as elotes, wasn’t in Mexico but Valencia. Walking home from the beach one evening I thought I could smell freshly made popcorn, and then the intoxicating aromas of cheese, chilli and garlic took over.

I remember seeing people walking past holding whole cobs of corn with what, at first, looked like melted butter dripping down the cobs or their chin.

Then I saw a small barbecue set up on the side of the road and realised that this was where the delicious aroma was coming from.

Hungry from a hard day of swimming and sunbathing, I took my place in the queue. It took a while because the barbecue was so small, but it was worth the wait.

Even with the first bite I could taste the cheese and garlic, the chilli, coriander and lime all at once and it was delicious.​ ​Elotes is a traditional dish of grilled corn on the cob, liberally spread with a mixture of mayonnaise and Mexican crema which is spiked with chilli powder, lime, coriander and Mexican cheese.

The cheese typically used in Mexico is Cotija but, if this is difficult to obtain, feta is a very good substitute. Mexican crema may also not be available, but sour cream can definitely replace it.

The simple combination of chilli, lime, coriander and salty cheese is pretty wonderful, so it wasn’t a difficult task trying to replicate the flavour of what I ate that day in Valencia.

This is certainly not an authentic Mexican recipe, but was inspired by Mexican flavours and adapted to the availability of ingredients.

(Beverley Hicks
(Beverley Hicks (Beverley Hicks)

Mexican-style street corn – elotes

Serves 3

3 whole cobs of corn, husks still on

For the topping

50ml mayonnaise
50ml sour cream
100g finely crumbled feta cheese

½ teaspoon ancho chilli powder
1 fat garlic clove, finely minced
25g finely chopped coriander, leaves and stems
Zest and juice of 1 small lime
Mexican hot sauce

To serve

Crumbled feta cheese
Ancho chilli powder
Finely chopped coriander
Lime wedges
Finely chopped red chilli (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Fan 6. Soak the cobs in water for about 10 minutes then wrap in tin foil lined with parchment paper and put into the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, the soaked husks will help to steam the corn and make it succulent.

While the corn is cooking make the topping by combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, feta, chilli powder, garlic, coriander, lime zest, lime juice and your favourite hot sauce. Stir well and set aside.

Remove the corn from the oven and peel back the husks but don’t remove them completely, tie back with a piece of string and you have an instant handle. Remove the silks as best you can.

Put a large griddle pan on a high heat and griddle the cobs for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally to obtain griddle marks on the corn which will give it a lovely toasted flavour. Any remaining silks will become brittle and fall off in the pan.

Transfer the cobs to a serving plate and spoon or paint on the cheese mixture. Add extra cheese, coriander, chilli powder and a squeeze of lime and sprinkle over some finely chopped red chilli for an extra kick of heat and a splash of colour.

Follow Beverley @littlechelseakitchen

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