Life is about falling in love with simple things that are drenched in nostalgia. Like watching the sun go down with your loved one or enjoying a hot roasted corn on a cold rainy day. The monsoon of 2020 has been very different – there’s no rush to find refuge under a worn out tarpaulin at the street side corner, no water dripping off it into our cup of chai that doubles up as work break, and it feels like years since we felt the salty wind in our hair, racing to chomp down on a corn cob, or bhutta, at Marine Drive before a gush of breeze covers it in sand.
This year, we might have to make our peace with enjoying bhutta within the confines of our homes; slow roast it over our high-tech stoves instead of a coal chullah and sink our teeth into it while watching something horrific and amusing, in equal parts – like, a new show on Netflix that patronises our culture – because it’s our best bet.
The good part is, it’ll probably taste just the same.
While most of us have pleasant memories of enjoying roasted corn with a squeeze of lime and generous rub of salt, given our circumstances, it might be a good idea to experiment with it. Here’s our list of top 10 ways to enjoy the starchy vegetable.
Bhutte Ka KeesPredominant in Madhya Pradesh, where it is a hot street food favourite, and across Maharashtra, bhutte ka kees is a delightful dish featuring mashed or grated corn, uplifted with a touch of masalas like mustard and cumin seeds, green chilli, red chilli powder, turmeric and asafoetida. Check this recipe by LF chef Pankaj Bhadouria here.
Corn and Broccoli IdliUp the ante with this imaginative recipe by chef Shazia Khan, who gives the humble idli a rather cool spin with the addition of corn and broccoli. All you need is a little suji, some coriander, broccoli, boiled and blended corn, salt and baking soda! Check the recipe here.
Verkadalai Saccharata Var VadaiThe verkadalai saccharata var vadai is a unique and lesser-know treat from Tamil Nadu, which is reimagined by chef Bhadouria, who combines chana dal, corn, peanuts, chillies, coconut and a few spices to give you toothsome little tidbits, perfect for the rainy weather. You can make it at home, too. Check the recipe here.
Corn PulaoIncorporate the monsoon staple into your meals with this corn pulao recipe that promises flavour and satiety. Using familiar spices, like garam masala, cumin and chillies, corn pulao is made with two star ingredients – basmati rice and sweet corn. Plus, it’s a super chill recipe that you can easily whip up between work calls and what not! Check the recipe here.
Vaghareli MakaiLiterally translating to spiced corn, vaghareli makai – prevalent in the west coast of India – is a relatively popular dish, where chillies, corn kernels, spices and other condiments come together to give you a snacky and masaledar chaat-cum-dish. The dish is so popular that even top chef David Lebovitz adapted it for his blog! Check the recipe here.
Makai Palak ki SabziMakai, meaning corn, meets palak i.e. spinach for the delicious makai palak ki sabzi that changes form and flavour in each household. Typically, the dish makes use of corn kernels, cooked in a rich and flavourful spinach gravy and is best enjoyed with roti or paratha. Check the recipe here.
Handi Corn Sabzi
This is a recipe you’ll be hard-pressed tracing the origin of, given that it has entered our culinary repertoire recently. It makes use of chunks of corn cob, cooked in a piquant onion-and-tomato gravy and has many variants, at least on the internet. We loved this rendition. Check the recipe here.
Corn BhajiyaNo trip to Lonavla’s famed tourist spot, Tiger Point, is complete without protecting your plate of hot corn bhajiyas from the friendly monkeys that infest the place. Essentially, corn bhajiyas are a flavourful instant snack, which calls for an easy-peasy recipe and is really the best thing to enjoy your cup of chai with. Give this recipe a shot.
Dum Makai MasalaUbiquitous across Punjabi homes, dum makai masala – mostly enjoyed with naans or paratha – is a scrumptious take on sweet corn. For it, you need to temper whole masalas in ghee, along with Punjabi garam masala, and cook the corn in an onion-tomato gravy, which is uplifted further with the use of mawa and a cashew-and-watermelon-seed paste. This recipe takes things up a notch by breathing smoky flavours into the dish, with the use of charcoal. Check the recipe here.
Bhutteyan Da KebabAnother urban creation, bhutteyan da kebab, or corn kebab, is a delish and simple starter that uses mashed kebab, cheese and spices, shaped into stodgy cutlets, fried on the tawa and served with an array of chutneys. Pair it with parathas or pulao for a hearty meal at home. Check the recipe here.