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Recipes

Asha's Corn Ribs with Smoky Chilli-Saffron Butter

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Serves: 4

Asha's Corn Ribs with Smoky Chilli-Saffron Butter
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Peak-season corn needs little adornment at the height of summer — enter this smoky chilli-saffron butter. The heat and smokiness of Sirārakhong Hāthei chillies plays beautifully with the sweetness of the corn, while Kashmiri saffron brings aroma and even more richness to the party. A little bit of lime juice and lime zest liven everything up, so each bite is sweet, buttery, spicy, smoky, and tangy — is your mouth watering yet?

Cutting the corn ribs takes a sharp knife and a little practice, but it is well worth it! Not only do the ribs make for fun eating, but they also gently curl when grilled (or air-fried), creating more nooks and crannies between the kernels for the butter to melt into. That being said, if you don't want to take the time to cut the corn ribs, the smoky chilli-saffron butter is equally delicious slathered on an ear of corn (boiled, grilled, or roasted) or tossed with kernels that have been cut off the cob.

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Ingredients

For the butter
For the corn & assembly
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • Flaky sea salt, for finishing
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Methods

To make the saffron-chilli butter
  1. Place the saffron and salt in a mortar and pound until the saffron thread break apart into a coarse powder. Transfer to a medium bowl, stir in the lime zest and lime juice, and allow to the saffron to steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the softened butter, Sirārakhong Hāthei chillies, and Byadgi chillies, and stir together until the lime-saffron mixture and butter are fully incorporated. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Set aside.
To prepare the corn ribs
  1. Place one ear of corn on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut the ear in half crosswise, so you have two short, squat pieces. Take one piece, stand it on its end and slice in half lengthwise, then repeat with each quarter slicing down the corn in half lengthwise (1 ear of corn = 8 corn ribs). Repeat with the remaining ears of corn.
  2. Transfer the corn ribs to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat each rib of corn.
Grilling instructions
  1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn ribs until the kernels are cooked through and lightly charred, about 1 to 2 minutes on both cuts sides and 2 minutes on the kernel side (so you will end up rotating the corn three times).
  2. Pile the grilled corn ribs to a platter and brush each rib liberally with the reserved saffron-chilli butter. Transfer any remaining butter to a small bowl. Garnish the ribs with chopped cilantro and serve with the leftover butter and lime wedges.
Air-fryer instructions
  1. Place the oiled corn ribs in a single layer in the basket of an air fryer. Cook the corn ribs at 390°F until kernels are cooked through and starting to turn light golden, about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. (Depending on the size of your air-fryer, you may have to cook these in batches.)
  2. Pile the air-fried corn ribs to a platter and brush each rib liberally with the reserved saffron-chilli butter. Transfer any remaining butter to a small bowl. Garnish the ribs with chopped cilantro and serve with the leftover butter and lime wedges.

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