A few summers ago I became enamored with a simple, sweet corn soup. It was equally good slurped hot or cold, alone or paired with spicy lemongrass sausage or grilled chicken or a bright, herb-y salad. On one occasion, I decided to take that sweet corn concept in a new direction attempted to invent a corn condiment of sorts. I took the lazy path, simply blending an array of aromatics and tangy ingredients, and was pleased with the result, which I ate on a spicy sausage sandwich. However, I knew I wanted to try again—this time, I would strain and thicken the mixture into a smooth ketchup.
This version does just that. Blend some lightly caramelized shallots and garlic with fresh corn purée, coconut milk, spices, and vinegar, reduce and thicken, and you've got a pungent, sweet, tangy sauce.
My first choice would be to slather it on french bread with crispy pork belly, fresh jalapeños, cilantro, and basil, banh mi-style, but I think it would also be a wonderful dip for crisp sweet potatoes, fried zucchini, or even thinned a bit to make a bright vinaigrette. —savorthis
Using a box grater, grate the corn into a large bowl, getting as much corn and juice as possible (it should yield about 2 1/4 cups). I save the leftover corn cobs for vegetable broth.
Heat the peanut oil in a tall-sided, medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and gently cook shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, the coriander, and the allspice until just beginning to brown. Stir in ginger and cook for another minute. Add corn, coconut milk, and water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another two minutes.
Pour mixture into a blender and cool briefly while you wipe out the pot. Blend until very smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and return to pot. Discard solids.
Turn heat to medium-high and add vinegar and brown sugar to corn mixture. Cook, stirring often to keep the bottom from sticking and burning, until mixture is thick—like ketchup. It will sputter and spit a bit. Turn off heat, stir in lime juice, and add salt and pepper to taste.