Street food or snacks, also called “antojitos”, are among the best food you will ever have. Esquites are widely sold all over Mexico, specially when they are in season. This snack is simple to make but far from simple in flavor. Esquites are a well balanced snack with a combination of spicy, sour and sweet flavors. When you mix everything in, right before tasting, things get very real. Your mouth will begin to water, as you watch the light flavored broth turn creamy and all the toppings marry as one. It’s a delicious celebration with tons of textures!
Corn is used in so many dishes in Mexico and It’s planted and cultivated with so much pride. My dad mainly planted corn for pleasure, it reminded him of his roots and childhood. As for me, I still remember passing by the mountains and watching people clean and prep the land to plant corn. The fields looked gorgeous from afar and the emotion grew day by day.
I remember one year, my dad planted a good amount of corn. While he worked, he would share his love and inspiration for the craft, along with childhood stories. We were always instilled the love for Mexican culture and my parents did everything they could to plant the seed of inspiration and love for our Mexican roots. That year, while the “milpa” (plantations) was almost ready to be cultivated. I remember standing on the side of the field and getting the bright idea to run through the spacing (paths) in between the corn plants (NOT A GOOD IDEA). When I reached the other side, yeap! I immediately regret it. The leaves from the plants are so sharp and the cuts felt like paper cuts. I was ok but with several cuts that were painful. I never did that again!!! I limited myself to only eating the corn. Learn to make this recipe and enjoy every bit of it. Feel close to our culture and learn to love the flavors.
Esquites RecipeCourse: SnacksCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Street food or snacks, also called “antojitos”, are among the best food you will ever have. Esquites are widely sold all over Mexico, specially when they are in season. This snack is simple to make but far from simple in flavor.
5 corn tortillas, bite size squares
1’’ (inch) vegetable/canola oil
Lightly salt, kosher
- The corn
6 fresh corn, on the cob
3 TBSP of unsalted butter
3 TBSP epazote, roughly chopped
2 cups of water
1 pinch of kosher salt
Ground, Chile de arbol or ground, Chile piquin
Totopos we made
- *** You can lightly season with salt to taste at the end, if needed.
- Cut the corn tortillas into strips and then across into bite size squares. Heat about 1 inch of oil over medium heat to a safe frying temperature (350º F- 375º F). Carefully fry the tortilla squares in different batches, try not to overcrowd the pan. They are ready when crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oil and lightly salt them.
- Next, remove the husk and silk from the corn (if purchased whole). Rinse and remove the corn kernels from the cob.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, melt the butter and once melted add in the corn. Stir as needed and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water and stir. Next, add the epazote, salt and mix it in. Cover and let it cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the corn is completely cooked (not mushy) and you are left with a lightly seasoned broth.
- Allow it to cool down, but not too much. When nice and warm serve the corn with some of the broth and add the toppings. Start with the mayo and follow with the crema, a touch of lime juice, cotija cheese, ground chili, hot sauce and the totopos. Mix to combine and enjoy with a spoon.
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- If you can’t find epazote, you can omit from the recipe. I do suggest you try to find it, smell it and enjoy its qualities. Check to see if there is a local Mexican store close to you, I would look there first.
- The corn needs to be completely cooked but not mushy, still firm.
- You can use salted butter, just omit adding salt to the corn while cooking. Definitely taste and if needed you can add some. Just keep in mind the toppings have salt as well.
- In case you can’t find cotija cheese, you can use queso fresco or grated Parmesan.
- Although I do recommend using Mexican crema, if you don’t have access to it, you can use sour cream instead.
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