With Thanksgiving around the corner, fresh corn is plentiful at your local supermarket and at the farmers market. When I find heirloom corn at the farmers market, I get excited about all the different things I might make with it – Johnny cakes with fresh corn, creamed corn with tarragon, cornbread with bacon – but every so often I want corn with Asian flavors. With that in mind, here is a unique corn recipe inspired by the Vietnamese street food Bap Xao Tom Bo. You can find this popular buttery shrimp and corn dish at mobile food stands in the streets of Saigon. In the traditional recipe, the corn is sautéed in butter, then small dried shrimp is added, followed by a little fish sauce, green onion, and finally a little hot sauce. Also, the dried shrimp is traditionally sautéed without soaking them first. In my version, I prefer to soak the dried shrimp in hot water to mellow out the shrimp flavor and to soften them a bit, otherwise I think the shrimp flavor can be a bit overpowering. I also add a little soy sauce and dark caramel sauce to balance out the fish sauce. Finally, I add fried shallots for a crispy texture. This corn dish is best eaten right away. Enjoy!
Sautéed Corn with Dried Shrimp
Serving Size: 4
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lb of fresh cut or frozen organic corn*
10 small dried shrimp (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and chopped)**
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of organic soy sauce
Freshly grated black pepper
1-2 teaspoon of Sambal Oelek (garlic chili sauce), more for serving***
1/2 tablespoon of Vietnamese caramel sauce (optional)
1/4 cups of fried shallots
1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low. Add the butter and half of the scallions. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the dried shrimp (after it is soaked and chopped). Sauté for 1 minute.
3. Add the corn and increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté for 2 more minutes (3-4 minutes for frozen corn).
4. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, a couple of turns of the pepper mill, chili sauce, and caramel sauce. Sauté for 30 more seconds. Add the remaing scallions and sauté for 30 more seconds.
5. Divide among 4 bowls and top with fried shallots and serve with extra chili sauce.
*If using fresh corn try to find heirloom corn at your local farmers market. Most corn sold at the supermarket tend to be genetically modified.
**Dried shrimp can be found at most Asian supermarkets. Store the remaining shrimp in an airtight freezer bag.
***Sambal Oelek or garlic chili sauce are available at most Asian supermarkets.