The american corn on the cob commonly known as ‘bhutta‘ in Hindi is something which reminds me of the monsoon days in India.Punjabis call it ‘Challi’. If you happen to stalk the roads of Delhi during monsoons, every half a mile you’ll find a ‘reth ki bhuni hui challi’ stall selling the corn cobs slow roasted on a bed of warm ashes. And this coal slow roasted corn cob has such a heavenly taste which no grill no stove top and no microwave can infuse !!! The cool cucumber studded stalls of summers are replaced by bhutta as soon as the monsoon knocks!! It is the soul evening snack of Delhi….It is the monsoon street food available in the bylanes of Chandani Chowk to heavily crowded markets of Lajpat Nagar to the punjabi food corners of West Delhi.
While coming back from college or office during the monsoon evenings, I used to buy a butta daily without fail from the bhutte walla[vendor] with his wooden cart stocked high with fresh bhuttas. He had a coal stove atop the wooden cart.And I used to choose the corn cob and asked him to roast for me. It was lots of fun to open the husks,spreading the silken threads to poke a few kernels, digging my sharp nails to see how fresh the corn is.The smell of the fresh roasted corn used to be so enticing !!! I can never forget the warmth of the burning coal which was so alleviating for the cold hands and half -drenched body from the monsoon showers.Coupled with the aroma of fresh, pale yellow juicy pearls of corn freshly smothered with a mixture of black salt and red chilli powder and a massage of fresh cut piece of lemon…leaving trails of hot and sour flavor all over the kernels…I miss Delhi so much for these zesty flavors That trip from the bhutte walla back home with a bhuna bhutta [roasted corn cob] in one hand and an umbrella in the other, wet shoes and dripping clothes were the best moments of the day!! Even cleaning the stuck pieces from the teeth for hours together was so much fun!
Being a true Delhite and a true aficionado of Delhi’s street food , I relish bhutta like a carnivore,gnawing my teeth into the blackened cob and digging ruthlessely into the kernels …even after all the kernerls are finished I suck on the cob for good 5-10 minutes just to prolong the taste:) Though the most popular variety available locally is the coal roasted one, the American sweet corn has invaded its way into the Delhi malls -sold as peeled,picked, steamed, boiled, seasoned, buttered. Whatever form it is..the taste is delicious and satisfying and its complete paisa vasool [value for money] for such a healthy item!!! Afterall,what more can you ask for something as cheap as 10 rs (about 22 cents)per piece !!!!
Okay…enough of Delhi memories….its back to Vegas!! This corn salad is inspired by one of my Punjabi friend’s mother’s recipe !! She used to make this amazing boiled bhutta at home dunked in tamarind water….very juicy and absolutely yummy! So, basically I mixed both the tastes together, that of the blackened corn and the tamarind.Now, I don’t have a coal stove/grill at home so left to the mercy of the electric grill, I roasted the cobs on it and made this salad!If you are not a cilantro lover, use parsely.If you don’t like tamarind, use lemon juice …and if you don’t like all the four…please skip this recipe and come back again for the next one!
What I needed: (Serves 2)
- 2 ears white corn ,husked
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2 ” cubes
- 1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
- 2-3 ice berg lettuce leaves , shredded (optional)
- Cilantro/ Parsely garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
- 2 tbsp fresh or store-bought tamarind pulp [adjust to taste] [recipe below for fresh pulp]
- 1/2 tsp fine red chilli powder
- 1/2t tsp granulated sugar (optional)
- 1/4 tsp fine cumin powder
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
How I did it:
Fresh tamarind pulp:
- Soak 4-5 tamarind pods in 1/2 cup water for 3-4 hours.
- Once soft and mushy, squeeze the tamarind pods with your hands and discard all the seeds,fibre and skin from the pulp .
- Sieve and drain the water and pulp with help of big net strainer.
- Use this thick water as you require.It can be stored in refrigerator for later use .
- Preheat grill or broiler to medium heat.
- Grill or broil corn for 5-7 minutes until ears are lightly browned. Keep a watch on the cobs and keep on rotating them for even grilling on all sides.
- Remove cobs from the grill and allow to cool. Remove the kernels from the cob in a bowl.
- In a small bowl, throughly mix all the dressing ingredients.
- In another large bowl,combine the grilled corn kernels, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce (if using) and onion in a large glass bowl.
- Whenever ready to serve,in your serving bowl, pour the dressing,tip in the salad and toss gently to mix.
- Serve at warm or at room temperature.
- Mix the salad and dressing only when ready to serve.
- Store bought tamarind pulp has lots of salt in it and is very tangy as compared to fresh squeezed so be careful while using.
- If preparing fresh tamarind pulp ,try to buy seedless tamarind pods from the grocery store.These are much easier to use.
Sending this to Lisa’s event “No croutons Required“-theme Corn
Sending this to Debin’s Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays