two grilled ears of corn on a white plate
Middle Eastern Flavor Grilled Corn (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Put a Middle Eastern spin on a New World staple for flavorful grilled corn

Adding Middle Eastern ingredients to a New World staple created two corn recipes full of texture and flavor — one a side dish, the other a take on grilled street corn.

Spicy, Salty and Sour Corn and Potato Salad was inspired by eating seasoned cups of corn from street vendors around the world and by chaat, an Indian dish known for its complex flavors and mix of ingredients.

Grilled corn is also available around the world. Middle Eastern Flavor Grilled Corn adapts the Mexican street food with toppings that are spicy, creamy and tart. Grill extra corn to have leftovers to use in the salad.


Spicy, Salty and Sour Corn and Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 1 medium potato (8 oz.), peeling optional
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. plus ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups raw, cooked or frozen corn kernels (see notes)
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped herbs (see notes)
  • 1 tsp. ground sumac OR 2 tsp. finely minced lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. crumbed dried mint
  • ¼ tsp. ground dried ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne), or to taste
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. pomegranate molasses OR silan (date syrup)
  • 2 Tbs. plain yogurt OR hummus, optional

Cut potato into ¼- to ½-inch cubes. Steam until just tender. Drain well. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss cubes in oil with garlic, ¼ tsp. salt, pepper, paprika and cumin. Place potatoes with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until soft in center but crispy and browned outside (about 30-40 minutes, timing will vary), turning occasionally. Use warm or at room temperature.

If using frozen corn kernels, prepare according to package directions. Drain very well. Mix corn with onion, herbs, sumac, mint, ginger, red pepper and remaining ½ tsp. salt. Right before serving, stir in potatoes, tomatoes and lemon juice. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Garnish with yogurt.

Notes: Raw corn adds crunch. Grilled corn adds a smoky taste, but any cooked corn works. For fresh or cooked corn on the cob, slice off kernels, then measure. Use 1 cup total of chopped fresh cilantro, parsley and or mint.

a bowl of corn salad with a dollop of sour cream on top
Spicy, Salty and Sour Corn and Potato Salad (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Middle Eastern Flavor Grilled Corn

Serves 2-4

  • 2 large ears of fresh corn on the cob in husks
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • Spice Mix (See Below)
  • Drizzles (See Below)
  • Hot Sauce (See Below)
  • 3-4 Tbs. feta cheese crumbles, optional
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro OR mint
  • 2 Tbs. chopped green onion

Remove silk from corn, but leave outer husks. Soak corn in cold water for 20 minutes. Heat grill to medium hot. Grill corn on all sides until kernels can be easily pierced and are charred in places. (If a grill is not available, husk corn and cook as desired.)

Pull down or remove husks. Cut each corn in half if desired. Brush all sides with oil. Rub with Spice Mix. Place on plate. Drizzle tops with sauce(s) then spoon or shake on hot sauce(s). Sprinkle with feta, cilantro and green onion.

Spice Mix: Combine ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. ground black pepper, ¼ tsp. paprika, ¼ tsp. crumbled dried mint and ¼ tsp. ground sumac (OR ½ tsp. minced lemon zest if sumac is unavailable).

Drizzles: Pick one or two creamy and one tart. Use about 1 tsp. to 1 Tbs. of each for each cob. Creamy: Tahini paste or sauce, plain yogurt, sour cream and or toum (Lebanese garlic sauce). Tart: Amba (Iraqi-Israeli fermented mango sauce), pomegranate molasses, silan (date syrup) or tamarind paste mixed with enough water to drizzle.

Hot Sauces: Use ¼ tsp. to 1 tsp. or to taste of one or more: Yemenite zhug, North African harissa (known in Israeli as charif) or bottled hot sauce.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.