Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recipe: Fried Chili Corn, from the Mighty Spice Express Cookbook

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Remember this cookbook? We recently reviewed it here, and enjoyed it very much! Now, as promised, we have a recipe from it to share with you.

I love spices and exotic flavors in food, but don’t always have a lot of time to devote to cooking a huge, complicated meal. Why should we have to sacrifice flavor when we’re short on time? Well, we don’t! And this cookbook has plenty of options showing how to simultaneously achieve the goals of “yum” and “fast.” Wanting to make the most of my advanced reader’s copy of the book, I decided to try out John Gregory Smith’s recipe for fried chili corn. His inspiration for this one came from a family vacation in Thailand (let’s take a moment to let that one settle in…), and the fried corn snack prepared for them by the very talented chef at the house they stayed at on Phuket. I chose this recipe from the book because I feel it exemplifies the fast-but-tasty frame of reference of the book as a whole, and it’s deliciously crunchy and addictive. I can see this being the perfect snack to munch on by the pool or at a summer barbecue. The author recommends having it with a beer, and I must say I agree with that pairing wholeheartedly!

Fried Chili Corn

(Reproduced with permission from John Gregory Smith’s Mighty Spice Express)

3 1/4 cups sunflower oil
9-ounce can whole kernel corn
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
Sea salt

Heat the oil in a deep pan over high heat. Meanwhile, drain the corn thoroughly in a colander. Pour it into a mixing bowl and add the corn starch, chili powder, Chinese five-spice powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water. Stir everything together well so the corn is completely coated with the corn starch and spices.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the corn to the hot oil. Stir, then deep-fry 3 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Remove from the oil and drain very well on a plate lined with paper towels. Add the corn to serving bowls and season with salt. Serve with ice-cold beer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I used the more typical 15-oz. can of corn, and it worked out fine. I also substituted peanut oil for sunflower oil, since it was what I had on hand and it holds up well to high temperatures. The recipe notes that it will serve 2 and be ready in 10 minutes—mine would probably serve more than two (no surprise, as I used more corn), and it took me about 20 minutes to prepare, since due to pan size I had to fry the corn in 3 separate batches. My first batch turned out best—I think in the waiting the spice-mixture-batter somehow slid off the remainder of the corn, and as a result the second and third batches didn’t turn out quite as nicely as batch number one. Still tasted great, though! Here, join me in the cooking process:

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Ingredients assembled!!!

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Corn, corn starch, and spices assembled!!!

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All stirred up. I added a bit more corn starch to suck up some of the corn juice that didn’t get completely drained away.

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Frying prettily in the oil.

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Scooping time!

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Out of the frying pan…

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…into the paper toweled draining dish!

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Season with salt to taste and it’s ready to be nommed.

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Serve with beer for a great summer treat!

Thanks again to the author and publisher for allowing us to share this recipe!


Susan said...

nom nom nom

Clever to pair 5-spice with chili powder.

Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis said...

Sounds very tasty!

Alyssa L. said...

I think next time I'll add a little more chili powder (since y'know, I like things to taste like fire)!

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