Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fresh Corn Curry: from a Burmese restaurant

With corn on the cob coming in so heavily right now, I'm already looking for other ways of using it than just buttered and salted. The corn for dinner last night made me think of the fresh corn curry that I first had at an unusual restaurant, then standardized into a recipe for some of my teaching.

I first encountered this pretty dish in Bangkok, Thailand. It was at a little Burmese restaurant tucked back in an alley, but it had a superb cook. I cannot find anything similar in the four Burmese cook books I have consulted, so no guarantees about the curry’s authenticity as a traditional dish. But it is simple and delicious.

The recipe serves six as a side dish to a meat or fish curry and rice. But it can also serve as a tasty vegetable dish with Western food, such as a grilled hamburger.

Fresh Corn Curry

1 medium-small onion
4 tablespoons oil (not olive)
4 large ears fresh corn, yellow preferred
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or ground hot pepper
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Peel the onion, cut it in half and thinly slice it lengthwise (not across into rings). Fry it in the oil, stirring frequently until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, lift the onion out onto a paper towel. Use the oil for the curry.

While the onion is frying, cut the corn off the cobs. Mince the ginger. When the onion is cooked and removed from the pan, in the oil remaining (add a little more if necessary), gently fry the ginger, turmeric, and cumin for about 20 seconds, stirring. Add the corn plus 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and stir and fry until becoming hot. Add enough water to keep a slight wetness to the corn and continue to gently fry it, covered, stirring frequently, until tender (3-4 minutes). Taste a kernel or two of corn from time to time to test for doneness, and add salt if necessary. When cooked, stir in most of the previously fried onion and most of the chopped cilantro. Remove from heat.

Place in a low serving bowl, and sprinkle with the reserved fried onion and cilantro. Serve warm to accompany another curry and rice. Or serve as a tangy vegetable dish with grilled meat.

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