South Indian Stir-Fried Corn with Basil and Leeks

May 12, 2014
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a simple stir-fried corn recipe my mother would make for me, flavored with cumin seed, black pepper, lemon, and cilantro. When combined, these ingredients give the dish a nice mix of sweet, spicy, herb-y, and sour flavors. I believe this recipe was one she grew up eating in Bangalore, and was known in our house as corn palya (palya means stir-fry in Kannada). —Chitra Agrawal

Test Kitchen Notes

The ingredients in this recipe meld together perfectly. The earthiness of the cumin pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the corn. It's one of those recipes that, when followed, lends itself to endless variations. I could easily imagine leftovers being folded together with wheatberries or farro to make a wonderful grain salad, or even stirred into risotto. —deneen

What You'll Need
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 leek, white and green parts chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Shave corn off cob by standing it upright and running your knife as close to the cob as possible.
  2. Heat ghee or oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds to pan.
  3. When the seeds start to brown, turn the heat to medium and add in the leeks. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leeks are wilted down. Mix in the black pepper.
  4. At this point, add in the corn kernels and salt to taste. Fry the corn for a few minutes (it doesn’t take long to cook). Turn the heat off.
  5. Squeeze lemon over the mixture and fold in the chopped basil. Add salt to taste.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • heather
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • KM
Specialize in Indian recipes using local ingredients. I'm the owner of Brooklyn Delhi and author of Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn (Penguin Random House).

4 Reviews

KM March 29, 2018
Anyone tried this with frozen corn?
AntoniaJames June 5, 2014
On the must-try list. Looks so tasty, and easy, too! ;o)
heather May 20, 2014
Lovely and fresh. Look forward to trying this dish!
cucina D. May 12, 2014
I love the flavors you have in this dish, a must try for sure!