Meera Sodha's Blackened Sweetcorn Chat

Made using tinned or fresh sweetcorn, Meera Sodha's corn chat is bursting with flavour and colour.

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This is just the sort of thing I love to eat when I’m at a low ebb mid-afternoon, as its lip-smacking flavours jolt the senses, seduce the taste buds and make you want to punch your fist in the air for being alive. The key here is getting the right levels of chilli, lemon and salt – I like mine on the upper edge of what’s acceptable. Start slow and keep on adding, tasting and adjusting each ingredient until it’s perfect for you. This is good by itself, but you can also serve it with hot chapattis (see page 288 of Fresh India).

Serves 4


4 corn cobs, or 2 x 340g tins of sweetcorn, drained
2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
25g unsalted butter
¾ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp chilli powder (plus extra to serve)
just over ½ tsp salt
2½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ red onion, finely diced
20g fresh coriander, finely chopped
a handful of sev (chickpea noodles)
1 lemon, quartered, to serve


If you’re using fresh corn, pull off the husks and any loose silky threads. Bring a pan of water to the boil and carefully lower in the cobs. Boil for around 8 minutes, until tender. Drain, then wash under cold water. To slice off the kernels, make sure the cob sits flat (slice off the stem on the bottom of the cob if not) and place in a shallow dish. Hold the pointy end firmly with one hand and, with the other, slice close to the core, letting the blade move down the cob.

Set a large frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, put the cumin into it. Stir-fry for a minute, until you can smell it, then add the butter and let it melt. Turn the heat up and, when the pan starts to smoke, add the corn. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes – don’t stir too frequently, so it has a chance to blacken and caramelize, but watch out as the odd kernel may pop. When the corn has a good amount of colour, add the black pepper, chilli powder, salt and lemon juice and let it sizzle off.

Divide the corn between four plates and scatter over the red onion, coriander and sev. Sprinkle a little chilli powder over the top and place a wedge of lemon on the side.

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