I spent three months in Mexico a few years ago, and one of the best discoveries I made there (other than fried plantains), was elotes (or esquites). This was back in the day when we could not find any Mexican restaurants that served this delicious dish in Australia.
In Mexico, elotes are traditionally sold by street vendors in little stands where they have a large pot of heated corn kernels that they scoop into cups, squirt some mayonnaise and chilli sauce on top, coat with queso (cheese), and then squeeze lime juice all over it. I was in awe of the simple but delicious flavours and found myself eating a cup of elotes just about every day.
Shortly after I returned to Australia, I noticed elotes being added to just about every menu at any decent Mexican restaurant (and all was good in the world!). Juicy whole cobs of corn covered in mayonnaise, chilli, cheese, and lime juice = heaven.
However, the problem was no one was serving creamy elotes in a cup!
I finally found a restaurant that made the most delicious elotes I ever did have, served in a cup with an incredible sauce that had more flavour than the original elotes I enjoyed in Mexico!
I set out on a mission to create creamy vegan elotes so I can continue to enjoy it now that I am living a plant-based lifestyle. I think I nailed it!
This is with juicy chunks of fried corn, in a full-flavoured creamy and ‘cheesy’ sauce made with onions, garlic, chilli, and lime. The addition of miso adds a tantalising depth of flavour, while the nutritional yeast makes it so cheesy and delicious. You might want to double this recipe!
I clarified some of the steps and ingredients on 5 November 2018.
Creamy Vegan Elotes
Delicious, creamy vegan elotes (or esquites) are corn cups that I make with juicy chunks of fried corn in a full-flavoured creamy and 'cheesy' sauce made with onions, garlic, chilli, and lime.
- 3 corn cobs kernels cut off, and core removed (see recipe notes)
- 1 brown onion roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced or grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1⅔ cup homemade vegetable stock
- 1 tsp shiro miso paste
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 fresh lime juiced
- 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 1 pinch salt generous
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch chilli powder
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves
- 1 fresh chilli finely sliced
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil and ⅔ of the corn kernels.
Saute the corn for approximately 5 minutes, or until they're brown on the sides. Scoop the cooked kernels into a bowl and set them aside to add in at the end.
De-glaze the pan used to cook the corn with ½ cup of vegetable stock and add the onions. Saute for approximately 3 minutes, until the onions are starting to soften and the liquid is absorbed.
Add another ½ cup (6⅔ oz) of vegetable stock to the pan. Add the garlic and the remaining uncooked corn kernels. Saute for another 3-5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed, and it's beginning to brown (add some extra water or stock to the pan while cooking if it's drying out).
Once cooked, add another ⅔ cup of vegetable stock to the pan to de-glaze, and then immediately remove the pan from the heat, leaving the mixture in it for a few minutes while preparing the sauce.
In a food processor or blender bowl, add the miso paste, nutritional yeast, lime juice, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, and salt. Add the onion and corn mixture from the pan and blend well until smooth and creamy. Add the reserved cooked corn kernels from step 2 into the sauce and stir.
Serve the elotes warm in small cups or bowls garnished with fresh coriander leaves and slices of fresh chilli.
- You can use the corn cobs to make homemade vegetable stock.
- The spice level of this recipe is very mild. Add more cayenne, chilli powder, or fresh chilli for a spicier version.
- You can find nutritional yeast at your local health food store.
- Nutritional yeast is not the same as dry yeast used in baking.
- You can make this recipe ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Please read the Silvobeat nutritional facts disclaimer.