Spicy grilled corn-on-the-cob will be something of a revelation to those who are only accustomed to corn being boiled and served with butter and salt. Freshly shucked corn is actually grilled and made spicy all around the world, of course, but today’s recipe has its roots in South-East Asia.
Corn on the cob can be grilled inside its natural outer casing, wrapped in foil, or cooked ‘naked’ over a direct flame. Today, I will be using the latter method (chiefly as my cobs are pre-shucked) and, while this requires a bit more attention, it has the advantage of allowing to see how things are going during the cooking process.
The Ingredients (other than the actual corn)
For basting the corn, you need to blend together the following:
- 1 clove of Garlic, minced;
- 1 tbsp. chopped Scallion;
- ½ tsp. chopped red chili;
- ¼ tsp. Black Pepper;
- 1 tbsp. Sugar;
- 2 tbsp. Fish sauce;
- 1 tbsp. Oil;
Beyond these ingredients, you will also need a bit of extra oil to brush on the cobs before putting them on the grill. For the direct grilling method, it is advisable that you not marinate, or even pre-baste, using the above mix. Marinating for any length of time would tend to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the corn and the salt component may draw out some of the juices making it too dry when grilled. Even pre-brushing would cause the sugars to darken the cobs excessively and so the mixture will only be used towards the end of the cooking time.
Pre-heat your grill and, after brushing the cobs with oil, pop them on over a medium flame. The cobs will only take 10 or 15 minutes at most to cook (depending on size) and you need to keep turning them as brown spots appear where the grains contact the grill. Towards the end of cooking time, brush the flavoring mix liberally over the cobs and give them a few more seconds on each ‘side’. You can brush on one last coat just before serving or, alternatively, make enough ahead of time so that you can serve small bowls to each diner to apply more as desired.