Indian Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin

Corn with cumin -- as simple as it gets.

Corn with cumin — as simple as it gets.


Most times, I enjoy summer corn right off the cob that’s been charred on the grill or even nuked in the microwave for a few minutes.

But other times, I want something a little less basic.

That’s where “Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin” comes in.

It’s from the new “Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn” (Ten Speed Press) by Chitra Agrawal, chef-owner of the cleverly named Brooklyn Delhi line of condiments.

The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is full of recipes made for the home-cook, such as “Spiced Spring Vegetable and Coconut Polenta,” “Spicy Sweet Potato Buns,” and “Chia Pudding with Roasted Jaggery Blueberries.”


Yes, you might have to make a special trip to an Indian market to find some of the ingredients. But just think of all the fun exploring you can do while there.

With this corn recipe, you won’t have to go out of your way to do that, as you only need cumin seeds to give it a punch.

Just saute fresh kernels with cumin, plus chopped leeks, butter, and lemon juice, before stirring in fresh basil. That’s it.

The nutty, earthy cumin adds a nice and unexpected contrast to the sweet milky kernels.

The stir-fried corn is delicious hot, cold or room temperature. Enjoy it as a side dish or incorporated into salads.

It’s sure to become a new summer favorite.

You'll want seconds.

You’ll want seconds.

Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin

(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small leek, finely chopped

Kernels cut from 4 ears of 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 saute 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 slat and adjust if needed before serving.

From “Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn” by Chitra Agrawal


More Ways With Corn: Grilled Lime Chicken with Creamed Corn


And: Turkey-Andouille-Pinto Bean Tamale Pie with Corn Bread


And: Dorie Greenspan’s Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart


And: Miao Pork with Corn and Chiles


And: Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad


And: Tabouleh with Quinoa, Corn, Scallion and Goat Cheese


And: Corn with Hoisin-Orange Butter

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