My homemade Mexican Street Corn from my childhood is easy-to-make and only takes 15 minutes to cook AND is entirely gluten-free.
One thing you may not know about me is that I was brought up in the 90s in Long Beach. It was a time when hip hop has been on the rise and gangs have been increasing. But through it all, I can still remember the sweet days outside in front of my house eating Mexican street corn.
I could still remember those sunny days. I’d be at home, who knows what I was doing at the moment, maybe watching t.v.— possibly. The next thing I’d hear is a very loud HONK, HONK, HONK! A man’s voice would scream, ELOTES! ELOTES! ELOTES!
I most likely flung myself off the couch or stop whatever I was doing to run to my mom to ask for a dollar. I would be rushing her. Come on, come on, the corn man is going to leave. She would find a dollar at the bottom of her purse and crunch it in my palm. Then, I would dart right out my front door.
I would be leaping on my tippy toes trying to look ahead to see if the corn man was in front of me. Usually, I would have to look left or right, sometimes behind me. Once in a while, I would find him around the block. You see, the streets in long beach are very crunched together, so it’s not impossible to hear him from the next street over.
The corn man would be driving a grocery-store-like cart with a huge metal pot that almost reminds me of a metal trash can (I promise it was not one) and inside was steaming hot water with many boiled corns inside.
Some “corn guys” spoke English, some didn’t. Usually, I would just order using my index finger to symbolize one corn, please.
He would stab the corn with a wooden skewer then pound it on top of the “trash can lid” to ensure that the stick was all the way in. Next, he would slather the boiled corn with his handmade spatula that was connected to the lid of the mayo jar for easy opening and closing.
Next, came the crumbly cotija cheese, liquid butter, and in the last step was the only time he would make eye contact with you. He would say “would you like chili?” I would always reply “yes, please!
What Makes This Recipe Different from the Rest?
Many Mexican street corn recipes grill their corn, which is delicious, but it’s not the way I enjoyed eating it as a child. For this recipe, we will boil the corn just like the corn man did. He’s my best friends, he just doesn’t know it yet 🙂
It can be hard to find liquid butter, so I am just going to omit it altogether.
What is Cotija Cheese?
Pronounced [koh-tee-hah] is a popular Mexican cheese name after Cotija de la Paz—a town in the state of Michoacan. It is made from cow’s or goat’s milk and can be soft or hard cheese. Today, it is being produced in the united states and can be found at most grocery stores.
Other names: Anejo or Queso Anejado.
What is a good substitute for Cotija cheese?
° Queso fresco
° Parmesan Cheese (rennet free)
° Feta Cheese (make sure it is not too moist)
If it is crumbly, salty, and delicious use it!
Create an assembly line
This is the easiest way to prepare the street-style corn. It’s important to hand the corn to the person eating it right away, so making the corn on demand it best.
Put each ingredient into a different bowl. Put a spatula in the bowl with mayo and a spoon in the bowl of cotija cheese. Slice wedges of line and put them on a plate.
tip: When putting the crumbly cheese on the corn, place the corn over the bowl so that the excess can fall right back into the bowl. Continue to poor the cheese over the corn until it’s fully coated in a thick layer of cheese. Remember, the mayo acts like the glue, so slather it on!
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1 corn per person
- 4 ears of fresh corn, husked and rinsed
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 1 lime slices into 4 wedges (one for each person)
- 1 tbsp chili piquin, chili powder or Indian chili powder more if desired
- 1 handful freshly chopped cilantro to garnish
- 3/4 cup cotija cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the butter, corn, and salt the water generously. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the corn from the water and either stick it with wooden skewers, chopsticks (mt sneaky yet convenient trick of mine) or nothing at all.
Spread a layer of mayonnaise all around the corn. Thoroughly "bread" the corn with crumbly cotija cheese, sprinkle with chili pepper and garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of line.
For the mayo, I used McCormick Mayonesa (Mayonnaise) With Lime Juice, but you can use any mayo you like—simply add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice into the mayo that you have on hand.