Corn, kaffir lime butter, green chilli

Corn, kaffir lime butter, green chilli

Finding Fire

Grilled corn is the flavour and the colour of summer: yellow, sunny and sweet. As a child, I remember playing hide and seek in the cornfields, marvelling at the towering stalks of green. Corn is a vegetable that epitomises agriculture and human intervention, as it does not exist in the wild.

Peeling back the husks after cooking reveals a transformation by fire. The vegetable’s natural sweetness is enhanced by grilling in the husks, which protect the corn while imbuing a rich smoky flavour. In this recipe, the barbecued kernels are drenched in smoked butter infused with fragrant kaffir lime, and the green jalapeño provides a bitter riff to the sweetness of the corn.


Quantity Ingredient
6 medium corncobs, husks on (see Note)
1 medium onion, halved, skin on
500ml filtered water
5 kaffir lime leaves
sea salt
200ml grapeseed oil
2 green jalapeños, deseeded and finely sliced
150g Smoked butter
zest and juice of 1 lime


  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Place the corn directly on the burning embers, rotating until evenly blackened on the outside. Transfer to a clean tray.
  3. 3. Grill the onion until lightly charred and caramelised. Reserve to use in the stock.
  4. 4. Reserving 2 corncobs for grilling, cut all the kernels away from the remaining corn to total 400 g (14 oz). Reserve the cobs, cutting each in half.
  5. 5. Place the charred onion and corn cobs in a small saucepan with the water, and bring to the boil. Skim the surface of any scum and allow the stock to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add 2 kaffir lime leaves and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pan.
  6. 6. Add the corn kernels to the hot stock, and simmer for 10 minutes until soft. While warm, blend in a food processor or blender on medium-high speed to form a smooth cream. Season with salt, pass through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.
  7. 7. In a cast-iron pan, heat the grapeseed oil to 140°C (285°F). Add the jalapeños and fry until just crisp. They should remain vibrant and green. Strain off the oil and immediately transfer to a paper towel to drain. Season.
  8. 8. Finely slice the remaining kaffir lime leaves, and place in a small pan with the butter. Heat gently to melt the butter and leave to infuse for 30 minutes on a low heat. Add the lime juice.
  9. 9. Suspend the grill approximately 10 cm (4 in) above the embers. Brush the 2 whole corncobs lightly with the butter and grill until golden brown and nutty. Rotate the corn until evenly toasted, seasoning while turning.
  10. 10. Remove the corn from the heat, trim the ends and halve each cob. Roll in the kaffir lime butter.
  11. 11. Divide the corn cream between serving plates. Place one piece of corn on the cream, top with grated lime zest and crisp green jalapeños. Serve immediately.


  • Choose ears of corn that are heavy for their size with firm kernels running all the way up to the pale golden silks at the tip.
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