July 15, 2021
To survive in the 21st century, you need to have certain go-to people:
Depending on your likes and lifestyle you’ll probably have a couple more go-to’s on your list. However, these could be agreed as the most basic people you need to know… Unless you live in Mexico.
In that case, there’s one more guy to be added to this list. Maybe even sharing the first place in relevance alongside your doctor:
Your favorite taco, tamales and, if you live on the South, marquesita stands also deserve an honorable mention in this list.
However, the corn guy is the corn guy.
No one else will add precisely the amount of lemon juice you like on your esquite, or add an extra spoonful of chili just because he saw you a bit down.
That’s why, if you’re far from your home corn guy and nostalgia is hitting you where it hurts (on your appetite), here I hand you the traditional recipe.
Again: TRADITIONAL recipe for esquites.
It’s safe to emphasize this point because I know many of my friends in Yucatán will jump up to say that I should’ve said cream instead of mayonnaise. Or my cousins up North will complain that it shouldn’t be called an esquite, it’s supposed to be called “elote en vaso” (literally: corn on a cup).
To these sinners I say two things.
One: you’re wrong.
Two: write your own blog and ruin esquites with whatever ingredients or names you wish to add.
In the meantime, we’ll be calling them esquites and we’ll be adding mayonnaise.
Now back to what we’re here for.
The traditional recipe for Mexican esquites
Let’s start with the ingredients.
As for quantity, we’re considering enough to serve four people.
If you eat the equivalent of two people, then multiply the ingredients by two, or just invite half your friends. If you’re a regular eater, then this should be enough for you and three friends with similar stomachs.
Now, for cooking:
The first thing we’ll have to do is remove the leaves from our white grain corn. If they’re fresh, they’ll probably have some strands or “hairs” natural to the corn. Remove them. We’ll need our corn as clean and bald as we possibly can for the next step.
Once clean, remove the grains from the cob with a knife. Let them rest on a deep enough container and have them ready, as we’ll be needing them further along the way. It shouldn’t be necessary to store them in the fridge as this could take away their freshness.
Now, take the epazote root, garlic, onion and chilis and chop them neatly one by one. If you had already done this step, good, you’re one step closer to your meal. If you haven’t, this would be a nice time to do so.
Next, we’ll take a cooking pot that’s big enough. Add the butter and get it on the stove with the fire set to the lowest. In this pot, you’ll deposit first the onion, epazote, and chilis (all well chopped). Once the onion has acquired a brownish color, we’ll add the garlic. Remember, all with low fire burning.
Now, mix these elements and give them a moment so that the garlic and onion acquire a similar color. Once this happens, add the grains of corn.
Mix the ingredients again and let it cook for two or three minutes. Then, add two portions of water (twice as many cups of water for each cup of corn grain), add salt willingly and cover the pot.
Wait for the water to boil until the corn grains get that “al dente” consistency… Not too soft, yet not too hard.
And that’s it for the first part. Now, to the good stuff.
Once our corn is ready and tasty, we’ll proceed to serve them in cups or mugs (they should be hot so consider this for your container of choice). If you have traditional clay mugs, those should look amazing for your guests.
Here’s where personal taste plays an important part. If you ask me, here’s what you should add:
We’ve finished your first lesson into becoming a corn man. The next step is to share them with your friend or get a cart and start your corner stand but to do this, you’ll need to learn many other arts such as confidentiality and sidewalk therapy. True skills that only a master corn man can teach you.
Now it’s your turn to confess. What odd thing do you like to add to your esquites? Let me know in the comments!
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