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You’re no stranger to Mexican elotes: grilled corn cobs dressed in mayo, chili powder, cotija cheese and lime juice. But just wait until you taste this souped-up Japanese street corn from the recently released cookbook Love Japan: Recipes from Our Japanese American Kitchen by Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel.
The recipe calls for a generous drizzle of Kewpie mayo—which is famously rich and umami-forward, since it’s made with egg yolks and MSG—and a dusting of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend that contains chili flakes, seaweed and sesame seeds. Paired with salty Mexican cheese and fresh citrus, this appetizer is sure to wow your dinner guests.
“To get plenty of seasoning on all sides of the corn, after parboiling [it], we cut the ears into several wedges before grilling, a technique that ensures every bite is loaded with goodness,” write the authors. “We recommend using a sharp serrated knife (and lots of care) to saw through the cobs. If you’d rather keep the corn whole, it will still be delicious.”
Reprinted with permission from Love Japan: Recipes from Our Japanese American Kitchen by Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel; with Gabriella Gershenson, copyright © 2023. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Yuki Sugiura. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
4 ears corn
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kewpie mayonnaise, for serving
¼ cup grated cotija cheese
Shichimi togarashi, for serving
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously to taste like the sea. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and set aside on a cutting board.
2. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, cut each ear in half crosswise. Stand one half up on its cut end and slice through the center of the cob lengthwise. Lay the two pieces flat-side down and split each one again lengthwise, so you have four equal wedges. Repeat with the remaining corn. You should end up with 32 wedges.
3. Brush the kernel side of the corn wedges very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to season.
4. Heat a grill, grill pan or yakiami over high heat. Grill the corn wedges, kernel-side down, until the kernels are slightly charred, about 2 to 3 minutes (the corn is already cooked, so you’re just looking to get some nice, smoky flavor). Grill the corn in batches, fitting in as many wedges as you can without crowding.
5. Place the grilled corn on a large serving platter with the kernel sides facing up. Generously drizzle with the Kewpie mayo, then sprinkle with cotija cheese, shichimi togarashi and scallions. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on just before eating.