Vibrant India: Stir-fried Corn with Basil and Leeks Recipe

Nothing is more exciting than ripping open the first corn of the season. Growing up, we’d eat corn two ways: either roasted straight on the gas stove or shaved off the cob and stir-fried. Fresh corn really doesn’t need much. I shave it off the cob and eat it raw in salads.

My mother would sauté the fresh kernels in a little butter with cumin seed, black pepper, lemon, and cilantro. I’ve adapted her recipe by using chopped basil and leeks I received in my farm share one year; simple to prepare but bursting with flavors. This dish is great as a hot side and also delicious cold and mixed into salads.

Stir-fried Corn with Basil and Leeks Recipe
Summer, Fall • Serves 4

Vegan, Gluten-Free



1 tablespoon ghee, unsalted butter or canola oil
1 tablespoon ghee, unsalted butter or canola oil
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small leek, finely chopped
Kernels cut from 4 ears corn (3 to 4 cups)
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

Put the ghee in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add one cumin seed. When the seed moves slightly or sizzles, add the rest of the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown (a few seconds), add the leek. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the leek is fragrant and soft. Stir in the corn kernels, black pepper, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt.

Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté until the corn is cooked to your preference, 2 to 3 minutes. I find the fresher the corn, the less you need to cook it. Turn off the heat. Mix in the lemon juice and basil. Taste for lemon juice and salt and adjust if needed before serving.



Excerpt from Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal. ©Chitra Agrawal 2017. Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.


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