Source: www.nytimes.com– By DAVID TANIS
HOT weather aside, you really know it’s summer when fresh sweet corn shows up at every Greenmarket and farm stand. I always love the sight of folks digging through piles of fat green-husked ears, looking for the best specimens. I’m right there with them, grabbing my own.
For the first few weeks of corn season, I’m happy to eat it on the cob, boiled or grilled, smeared with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper or lime and chile powder. Or plain.
But at a certain point, it’s time to take those kernels off the cob and start playing. I may make my own creamed corn (butter-stewed, then finished with crème fraîche and chives) or a bright succotash with peppers, zucchini and sundry beans.
Adding fresh kernels to corn bread or polenta is always nice, or I’ll try a vegetarian corn chowder, with a broth made of simmered cobs, new potatoes and a fistful of fresh herbs.
This week, even in sweltering weather, I had a yen for something fried, and though I could have settled for corn-studded hush puppies, my inclination was to make something spicier, more complex. I love the vibrant flavor of Indian food, especially in summer. (It always seems refreshing.) So I turned to a few of my favorite Indian cookbooks for inspiration, and I found a solution: corn pakoras.
Crispy and well seasoned, pakoras are fritters that can be made from most any vegetable, corn included. I wanted to emphasize the corn flavor, so I used a fair amount of fine cornmeal, besides the more traditional chickpea flour. I got out my food processor to grind up fresh kernels for the batter, then in went the spices: the chiles, the ginger and scallions.
To accompany the pakoras, I craved a chutney that was sweet, hot and a little sour. Ripe mangoes and tamarind were at my local Indian grocery, so I used those, but green mango would have been good, or practically any other chutney, really.
Once the batter was made and the chutney assembled, I waited for sunset. Then it was time for an icy beverage before approaching the stove.
Using a couple of soup spoons, I slipped morsels of the mixture into a bare inch of hot oil. The frying took only a few minutes. (If you don’t want to fry them, cook them like pancakes on a well-oiled griddle.)
My little pakoras were just the thing for a hot night: spicy, crispy, sweet and savory.