Make Ahead

Corn Ketchup

May 23, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • carolina
  • Cam C Clark
    Cam C Clark
  • Margaret Perry
    Margaret Perry
  • Susan
  • Ingrid Heuer
    Ingrid Heuer
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture

17 Reviews

carolina August 20, 2023
Can't eat alliums, so made this without them. CORN BUTTER!!!! This is the best buttery spread for anything. Toast, waffles, raw zucchini, celery, any veg, stirred into hot pasta with or without fresh corn kernels, diced red pepper, hot pasta and lots of black pepper... EDM127 -- I used toasted sesame oil (great with the coconut milk).
EDM127 August 16, 2023
What can replace peanut oil? We have peanut allergies in my family.
savorthis August 16, 2023
Hi there. I imagine you could use coconut oil, another neutral oil or maybe sesame oil. I have not tried any of those but don't see why they would not work.
Cam C. August 23, 2018
I just made it with fresh corn on the cob. It tastes good, but frankly, whatever "fresh" flavor there was in the corn when I started seems to have diminished by the long cooking time and the added sugar, coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, vinegar and spices. So at the end, it reminded me of the flavor of canned creamed corn (plus coconut, vinegar, onion, garlic, etc.) . It's good, but kind of like a pudding, so if I wanted to do it again, I'd blend a can of creamed corn, put it through a strainer and add everything else, and cook it down,... just to see how similar it is to this recipe.
Margaret P. August 22, 2018
How long will this keep? Corn is notoriously short lived once it's been cooked. Do you recommend freezing after making if you don't use it all?
Susan August 17, 2018
I MUST have this in my life! I wonder how well it would freeze.
savorthis August 17, 2018
Good question....let me know if you try it!
okaykate August 17, 2018
this sounds fabulous! would frozen corn work too?
savorthis August 17, 2018
Thank you! I have to say I am often disappointed with the lack of sweetness in frozen corn. As a condiment, you might be able to balance that better, but sweet corn is just a different experience altogether!
okaykate August 17, 2018
understood - guess i will have to give it a shot! frozen corn may be better than no corn at all
Matt August 19, 2018
Sweet corn and frozen sweet corn are the same thing. One's just (get this!) frozen.
savorthis August 19, 2018
Matt I find frozen corn is never as sweet as fresh corn in the summer.
Mimi August 16, 2018
Is the corn cooked first?
Ingrid H. August 16, 2018
I want to know how to make those fries!!
Amynicole21 August 15, 2018
Sounds like a corn relish we had in Venezuela that we loved !! Making this tonight, any idea how long this would last in the fridge?
Gaia G. June 5, 2014
Ok, I MUST try this! I make my own ketchup and love trying new flavors like banana mango, peach and persimmon, etc. Never even heard of corn ketchup. Sounds amazing!
aargersi May 15, 2014
Oh boy does this sound delicious! A new addition to the condiment buffet on grilling days this summer.