Indian-Spiced Grilled Sweet Corn

August 26, 2019

This week at Fresh Madison Market we have bi-color sweet corn that was grown right in the Madison area on special: 4 ears for $1!  Now, you absolutely can’t go wrong with dunking those beauties in a boiling pot of water for about 5 minutes and sending them to the table, ready to go.  But today’s recipe from Midwest Living is a pretty remarkable twist that not only brings out sweet corn flavor at its freshest, it also adds a special pop of spices and flavors.

The recipe suggests making garam masala, an Indian spice blend, from scratch using whole spices.  If you don’t have a spice grinder, you can certainly use pre-ground spices or buy garam masala already made.  Toasting the spices releases the oils and flavors.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 -8 green cardamom pods, green husks removed and discarded, using dark inner seeds or 1/4 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 ears corn (husks not removed)
  • 1/4 cup Melted ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime


For garam masala: Place cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and star anise in a dry skillet; cook over medium-low heat until fragrant and spices are light brown, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

Place toasted spices, along with nutmeg, in a spice grinder. Pulse until you get a fine grind. Set aside 1 tablespoon to use in this recipe (You can store the remainder for up to 3 months).

Prepare spices for corn: In a small bowl, combine the reserved 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin, the paprika, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt. Set aside.

For corn: Peel corn husks back, but do not remove; remove silks. Pull husks back around ears. Place ears in two very large bowls, two 13x9-inch pans or a clean sink. Cover with cold water. Soak corn 60 minutes. Drain.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Grill corn, uncovered, until kernels are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, turning and rearranging ears occasionally. Remove corn from grill, pull back husks and immediately brush corn generously with melted ghee. Liberally sprinkle spice blend and cilantro over corn. Finish with a squeeze of lime.