From Indonesia through South East Asia to Myanmar, and across to India, sweet corn is served with crispy onions. The corn is prepared in various ways, including milky creamy corn (a firm favourite) and corn that is steamed then deep fried.
With wonderfully tender corn from the local shops, we made this Indian street food style snack, tangy and spicy. It is easy to make, but the corn kernels needs to be blanched, boiled or steamed beforehand, to soften their outer skin so that they don’t pop while frying. Otherwise you will have a messy kitchen, a scared cook, and a bowl of popped corn (if you can find them after flying around the kitchen as they explode).
Crispy Corn and Onions | Indian Chaat
1 onion, peeled and uniformly sliced thinly – use a mandoline
kernels from 1 – 1.5 sweet corn cob
besan flour (chickpea flour)
oil for deep frying
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
juice 1 lime or small lemon
0.5-1 tspn chilli powder, or to taste
1-1.5 tspn chaat masala
0.25-0.5 tspn black pepper
sea salt to taste
Steam or simmer the corn kernels until slightly softened, or blanch in boiling water for 5 mins. Drain well. Dab with paper towel to aid drying, but leave a little moisture.
Take the onion slices and in a bowl sprinkle with enough chickpea flour to cover but not drench. You are not looking for batter, just a covering of flour to aid crispness.
Heat the oil and deep fry the onion until browning – remember they will cook a little more and darken a little more as you take them out. Remove and drain on kitchen paper towel.
In the same way, coat the corn with chickpea flour, mixing around until they are coated. Deep fry the corn – do not stir for the first couple of minutes so the coating stays in tact and it minimises exploding.
Don’t lean over the corn as it cooks, as the odd kernel may still explode. Remove the corn just before it reaches the desired golden colour as it will continue to cook and darken as you remove it. Drain on paper towel.
Mix the onions and corn with coriander leaves, chilli powder, chaat masala, sea salt and black pepper (in amounts to suit your taste). Taste and adjusts spices. Drizzle with a little lime or lemon juice and serve as a snack with a cuppa chai.
recipe notes and alternatives
An alternative way of cooking the corn is to saute the raw corn until very brown. Mix with the onions and continue with the recipe.
Add some boondhi to the mix.