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Authentic elote recipe: Easy Mexican Street Corn

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It was during my travels to the heart of Mexico City that I first laid my eyes on one of the most popular street foods that locals raved about. Street vendors, with their carts decorated with colorful garlands, served a delightful treat known as Elote. I couldn't help but indulge, and oh, the joy of savoring that first bite! Now, I’m about to share with you the secret to recreating this iconic dish with an authentic elote recipe.

authentic street corn

Authentic elote recipe: Easy Mexican Street Corn

The allure and charm of this dish emanate from its delightful simplicity. It's a culinary masterpiece that doesn't demand a long list of ingredients or intricate cooking techniques. Instead, with just a modest collection of fresh ingredients, many of which you might find already resting in your kitchen or easily sourced from your local grocery store, this dish manages to captivate your palate. It's a testament to the fact that sometimes, less truly is more, especially when those few ingredients harmonize perfectly to create authentic, heartwarming flavors.

cooked elote recipe on a cutting board

Mexican Elotes (street corn)

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

authentic elote recipe ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 corns on the cob, husk removed
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp tajin seasoning

Instructions:

  • Bring a pot with water to boil. Boil the corn for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • In a bowl, add the Mexican crema, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
  • Chop the cilantro, set aside.
  • When the corn is cooked, remove from the pot, let slightly cook off. 
  • Brush the Mexican crema mixture over the corn.
  • Add cotija cheese, tajin seasoning and cilantro.
Corn cobs submerged in boiling water, cooking to tender perfection.
A small bowl with a smooth, creamy mixture made from the crema, mayo, and lime juice.
Applying the creamy sauce onto the cooked corn using a pastry brush
Sprinkling crumbled cotija cheese  over the sauce-covered corn.
Sprinkling crumbled tajin seasoning over the sauce-covered corn.
Finished Elote garnished with chopped cilantro, ready to be savored.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Corn Preparation: Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the ears of corn and boil for about 5 minutes, or until the corn kernels are tender. This will ensure that the fresh sweet corn is ready to absorb the creamy sauce we'll brush on next.
  2. Sauce Creation: In a small bowl, mix together the Mexican crema, mayonnaise, and fresh lime juice until you have a smooth, creamy mayo sauce.
  3. Herb Prep: Freshly chop the cilantro and set it aside. The herb will add that touch of authentic Mexican flavor to the corn.
  4. Corn Finishing Touches: Once the corn is cooked and has cooled off slightly, brush the creamy mayo sauce mixture all over. Sprinkle the cotija cheese, tajin seasoning, and freshly chopped cilantro to garnish.

authentic elote recipe recipe

Key Takeaways from This Authentic Elote Recipe

Corn Choices:

  • Freshness Matters: The fresher the corn cobs, the juicier and more flavorful your Elote will be. Fresh corn guarantees a succulent bite and captures the essence of traditional Mexican street corn.
  • Corn Storage: If you’re storing your fresh corn, ensure it’s kept at room temperature for a day at most. If you're planning to use it after that, refrigerate it to preserve its freshness.

Topping Variations:

  • Powder Play: While tajin is a popular choice, you might find street vendors using chili powder or chile powder. This is what gives elote its iconic kick. Adjust according to your palate's heat preference.
  • Lime and Spice: Consider serving with lime wedges for an added citrusy zing. Additionally, incorporating a touch of cayenne pepper can further enhance the spicy undertone.

Cheese Choices:

  • Cotija is King: Native to Mexico, this salty cheese is the primary choice. Its unique crumbly texture and salty punch make it the perfect pairing with the creamy sauce and fresh corn.
  • Substitutes: If cotija is unavailable, feta cheese or parmesan cheese can come to the rescue. Although not identical, these cheeses offer a similar salty kick.

Serving Suggestion:

  • Traditional vs. Modern: While elote is traditionally savored off the cob, the elote en vaso (corn in a cup) is a trendy and less messy alternative, perfect for parties. This version is often referred to as Mexican corn salad.
  • Grilling Tips: If you’re grilling the corn, consider using long wooden skewers for easy rotation on the grill. This not only gives the corn an even char but also makes it easier to handle and serve.
  • Beyond Corn: Once you master the sauce, don't hesitate to experiment. It pairs wonderfully with other veggies or even as a dip with tortilla chips, taking your Mexican food night to the next level.

authentic elote recipe on a cutting board

FAQs

1. Can I use Greek yogurt instead of Mexican crema?

Absolutely! If you can't find Mexican crema in your local grocery store, Greek yogurt provides a tangy and creamy alternative. However, keep in mind that the flavor will be slightly different.

2. What's the difference between an elote and esquites recipe?

Both dishes highlight the deliciousness of fresh corn. While elote is a corn on the cob smothered in a creamy sauce, esquites is a flavorful corn salad, often served in a cup.

3. How do I grill the corn instead of boiling?

For those who prefer a charred flavor, simply place the corn on an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Rotate every 2-3 minutes until all sides have some char. This method adds a smoky dimension to the authentic elote recipe.

4. Is it possible to store leftover elotes?

While elotes are best enjoyed fresh, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day. However, it's advisable to eat them as soon as possible to enjoy the fresh flavor.

5. How can I turn this into a full Mexican-inspired meal?

Consider serving elote alongside dishes like carne asada or with a side of tortilla chips. It's a great recipe to include in your Cinco de Mayo celebrations or summer dinners!


In Conclusion

Whether it's the memories of bustling streets of Mexico City, the comforting smell of corn roasting, or the tantalizing mix of creamy sauce with salty cotija cheese, this authentic elote recipe brings more than just flavors to the table. It brings stories, memories, and a little piece of Mexico to your backyard.

Next time you're looking for the perfect side dish to elevate your meal to the next level, remember this recipe. It's more than just food; it's an experience. Happy cooking and here's to many more culinary adventures together!

Yield: 4

Authentic elote recipe: Easy Mexican Street Corn

authentic street corn

Embrace the vibrant flavors of Mexico with this authentic Elote recipe! Fresh corn cobs, brushed with a lusciously creamy sauce, are then adorned with crumbly cotija cheese, tangy lime, and a sprinkle of tajin seasoning. It's a harmonious blend of textures and tastes, reminiscent of bustling Mexican streets where Elote reigns as a beloved treat. Whether you're looking for a nostalgic bite or trying Elote for the first time, this recipe promises a culinary journey worth savoring.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 corns on the cob, husk removed
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp tajin seasoning

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot with water to boil. Boil the corn for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  2. In a bowl, add the Mexican crema, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Chop the cilantro, set aside.
  4. When the corn is cooked, remove from the pot, let slightly cook off.
  5. Brush the Mexican crema mixture over the corn.
  6. Add cotija cheese, tajin seasoning and cilantro.

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