Elotes with Macha Chili Oil… the Best Spicy After-School Snack?

Elotes with Macha Chili Oil… the Best Spicy After-School Snack?

We’re going through an elotes phase (could even be permanent, time will tell), it just feels like the perfect snack. Warm, sweet, spicy, and satisfying are adjectives that come to mind. While it comes from a warm place, Mexico, it seems perfectly adapted to our climate here in the North. The other day, the kids came home from school and we gathered around the kitchen counter to enjoy some. That’s when we decided to share the idea here, eventhough it barely qualifies as a recipe. Elotes, sometimes called “Mexican street corn,” is roasted or grilled corn that’s shucked and then served in a bowl—typically—with mayonnaise and any of a dozens of different toppings. I first got attached to it when I lived in Chicago; a man served it out of a handcart near where I worked. He had an encyclopedic selection of condiments, spices, and other ingredients that you could put on top of the steaming corn. I generally had mine with mayo, Cotija cheese, Tajín, and a little lime juice. Later, when I moved back to Green Bay, I started experimenting with my corn on the cob toppings. Among other things, I found that Indian spices are incredible on corn. Finally, several trips to Mexico and the gift of a corn shucker solidified the place of elotes in our family’s repertoire of snacks. If your corn experience has been limited to butter and salt, then you have some fun exploration ahead of you.

But here’s a good place to start:

Elotes with Mayonnaise and Macha Chili Oil

(This ‘recipe,’ (really more of a suggestion) doesn’t have any measurements because it’s all to taste and it would all depend on how much corn you have and how many people are there to enjoy it.)

(Read someplace that ‘elotes’ refers to corn on the cob and ‘esquites’ refers to shucked corn… I’m just going on what I’ve been served on the streets of Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago as ‘elotes.’)

  1. Put hot, shucked corn in a mixing bowl. We have done this several ways, here they are listed in order of preference:

    • Grill/roast/boil fresh corn until it’s slightly charred and then directly shuck it into a bowl.

    • Grill/roast/boil fresh corn and freeze it. Thaw it, shuck it, heat it, put it in a bowl.

    • Buy ‘fire-roasted’ frozen corn at the grocery store. Heat it according to instructions, put it in a bowl.

  2. Add an appropriate amount of mayonnaise, roughly 2 teaspoons per cup of corn.

  3. Add Macha Chili Oil to taste.

While we believe (whole heartedly) that this is one of the finest ways to enjoy your elotes, it is by no means the only way. Popular elotes toppings include:

  • Cilantro

  • Lime juice

  • Chili powder or Chili powder blends like Tajín (or uBu’s now retired Chili Salt Bang! if you have any)

  • Cotija cheese (feta cheese is a good substitute)

  • Crema

  • Black Pepper

It’s worthwhile experimenting. I’ve also enjoyed making elotes with flavors from India like tandoori spices and as I write this it occurs to me that Moroccan flavors would be fun to try. Like many of our favorite dishes, elotes is a platform for different flavors.

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