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More adventures with salads and frying one of the tiniest vegetables on earth.

(above: honey roasted sweet potato, radish, fried corn, and coriander goat yogurt)

We got a new lens. Actually the real story is that Tom accidentally clicked “purchase” on Amazon. I must say, it’s a pretty stellar accident. And 50 mm and f1.4 later, I am not complaining. In honour of the new toy, I decided to go for a colourful dish in my continuing exploration of sides.

In the past, I’ve made a dish similar to the above with fresh sweet corn, avocado, radish and coriander (cilantro). I gave some thought to my last post on salads and it seemed time to stretch my legs in one of my own categories -execution.
I had a run in with an avocado the other day, so I was apprehensive about letting it make another appearance. What to sub? Sweet potato seemed like an interesting choice. Instead of chopped coriander, I decided to try a coriander goat yogurt that I usually make for prawn tacos. Then, what to do with the corn? We had dim sum over the weekend with some other bloggers and they mentioned some sort of wonderful crispy corn dish with egg yolk they had at another Chinese restaurant. This dish was not headed in that direction, but I still took the cue. What would happened if I fried this corn? Fried corn, you say? Oh yes.

Of course it was a pain in the ass. But well worth it. The crunchy, sweet and salty combo was the perfect addition to the soft, roasted sweet potato. Plus, there is something to be said for a slightly retarded idea that somehow pays off. I will say, that you need to watch your heat on this one. If it’s too high, you will have little corn bombs filled with hot oil popping all over your kitchen. I now have a nice mark on my arm from a kernel that decided to attack during the pot jailbreak.

The corn is probably the most involved of all the elements in this dish. In fact, to expand on my execution rant from my earlier post, if you treat each component as a dish in itself, you’ll end up with a much more multi-dimensional plate. When you prepare each ingredient separately and then assemble at the last second, the ingredients will hold their integrity instead of forming a muddled mess. And if this whole things sounds like way too much work, I recommend trying the corn by itself and discovering its addictive power.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Radish, Fried Corn, and Coriander Goat Yogurt

For the Sweet Potatoes:

  • 3 medium to small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp of honey
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven on grill at 200 C/400 F. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 8 minutes or until they are tender. I find steaming them before roasting produces a much better result. Place the potatoes in a bowl and toss with honey, salt and pepper. Line a baking tray with foil, add the potatoes and roast for 10 minutes or until charred and crispy. Hold until ready to use.

For the Coriander Goat Yogurt:

  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 150 ml of goat yogurt
  • juice of 2 limes
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Hold until ready to use.

Fried Corn:

  • fresh corn kernels sliced off 1 cob
  • 2 tbsp of corn flour (corn starch)
  • 1 egg, beatened
  • 2 tbsp of flour, plus a little extra
  • salt and cayenne pepper
  • ground nut oil (peanut oil) for frying

I have to say, this was completely impromptu, so it’s more of an account than an absolute in terms of a recipe. Work slowly and deliberately and you should end up with a good result. I used fresh corn off the cob because I knew frozen corn would become water logged once thawed. Since water and oil don’t mix, fresh corn was the friendliest option.

I placed a few centimeters of oil in a large pot, then set the heat to medium low. Now the basic principles of frying tell you to dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Obviously bread crumbs were too large to be an option here. Although now that I think about it, I wonder what would happen if you used cornmeal?

At any rate, I had to create this process, but dredging individual corn kernels seemed like a nightmare so instead I decided to place the corn in a colander and pass the coating ingredients through. You can either place the colander in the sink or over a larger bowl to catch the bits that fall. Use your hands, and it will be messy at first. Adding the cornflour is easy -the corn separates nicely. Adding the egg gets a bit trickier. What results is a sloppy mess. To fix this, add the flour, sprinkling a little at a time and mixing with your hands until you eventually end up with separated kernels again. Season with salt and the cayenne pepper.

Place a handful of kernels at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen roll. Hold until ready to use.

Salad assembly:

  • 15-20 radishes, thinly sliced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Toss the radishes into a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss. Place the mixture on the plate and drizzle with the coriander yogurt. Garnish with the fried corn and voila.

6 Comments

  1. Mr Noodles

    The corn looks fab and looks better than the corn at the Royal Palace (my last post) but probably not quite as good as the corn at Sichuan Restaurant. BTW – photos from new lens look amazing.

  2. The Grubworm

    The new camera lens is already paying dividends – those are some great pics. I love the the look of the finished dish – totally worth the effort – the radish in particular adds something to the appearance – it's such a usefully versatile red ball in terms of colour and texture as well as taste.

    It also sounds pretty good too – sweet potato and corn, along with sharp yoghurt and peppery crunchy radish.

  3. Jen

    Mr. Noodles -After this little experiment, I am definitely going to have to try the corn at Sichuan. So many places, so little time…

    Grubworm -I love radishes in a salad or even just as a snack. Great with with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

  4. Little Miss Random

    May I ask what camera it is you purchased? I've been in the market since I broke mine last year.

  5. Jen

    Tom has a Canon EOS 450D and the accidental purchase was a Canon 50mm, f 1.4. The lens is really what makes the difference. I always shoot on manual settings, but having the flexibility to open the lens that wide is what really makes it great. If you really have the cash, you can go for the 50mm, f 1.2!!

  6. I like this web site very much, Its a rattling nice office to read and obtain information. “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.” by M. H. Alderson.

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