Before the recipe, a brief note to those people who peel back the tops of the ears of corn at the market: Stop that! What exactly are you looking for, anyhow? If you are looking to see whether there are any creepy-crawlies, or whether the kernels are nice-looking, the top inch or two of the ear is not going to be dispositive. Exposing it, however, will dry out and ruin the entire ear. Bad, very bad. "Exposing the kernels to the air simply dries them and accelerates the conversion of sugars to starch that begins when the ear is harvested." In other words, you are prematurely aging the corn. I'm sure my readers would never do such a senseless thing, so let's move on!
Jaffrey notes that this recipe is "surprisingly good over a bowl of steaming polenta (corn over corn, yes, but very good) or stuffed into pita bread. It goes well with dried bean dishes and green vegetables. The corn may also be served cold, as a salad." I have always meant to try it with polenta, but somehow I end up making rice instead. This time I used a new find, a mixture of basmati rice and green and yellow lentils that I got at Dowel, my local Indian grocer. If you want to try making your own blend I think it's about 2/3rds rice and 1/3 lentils. (Any lentil that cooks in 20-30 minutes should work, and it's nice to add a bay leaf or a couple of lightly-crushed cardamom pods to the pot).
Corn with Ginger
[comments in brackets are from me]
- 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) peeled and chopped very ripe tomatoes or canned tomatoes with a little of their juice [red or orange tomatoes are visually the nicest with the corn; this time I used a yellow summer squash because I'd eaten all my tomatoes]
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups (1 pound) corn kernels taken from 3 to 4 ears of freshly shucked corn (preferably Silver Queen), frozen defrosted corn kernels, or canned drained corn kernels
- 1 fresh hot green chile, finely chopped (optional) [I used a jalapeño]
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro [I didn't have any this time but I did have scallions that needed to be used]
Put the oil in a medium frying pan or sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. When it is hot put in the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Stir in the ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Put in the tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes, letting the tomatoes reduce slightly. Add the salt, sugar, corn, and optional green chile. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes, or until the corn is just done. Finally, add the cilantro and toss to mix well. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.