Elote combines corn on the cob with an incredible creamy sauce. Where you live in Mexico determines where you will find it. In urban centers and southern Mexico, it's sold by street vendors. In the rest of Mexico, you can find it in restaurants or stores. Every region prepares it a bit differently.
I grew up in Illinois, home to Illini Super Sweet Corn. Every summer, we would wait with great anticipation for the late summer, and arrival of Illini Super Sweet Corn at the farmer's market. Plant geneticist, John R Laughnan, stumbled upon these super sweet kernels in the 1950's. Today, Illini Xtra Sweet Corn makes up 95% of the sweet corn sold to consumers.
While I no longer live in the US's Midwest, my love of sweet corn will never fade. And because I can hardly wait for summer, I decided to come up with a dish that could be served well into the late, dog days of summer, Soy Curl Street Corn Skillet. No need to fire up the oven, and lots of fresh produce involved! I cut sweet corn right off the cob for this recipe, but feel free to use frozen sweet corn. If you can find frozen fire-roasted sweet corn, even better. And if you have access to a grill, and want to throw whole cobs onto it, even better, better!
Soy curls seem to be incredibly popular here in the US's Pacific Northwest. They do not seem to be everywhere in the US, and I'm not sure of their availability outside the US. Try to order them, if you can. You won't regret it. They aren't paying me to say this... they are just good! If you are looking for an adequate substitute, you might substitute tempeh for this dish, but make sure to steam it first to remove any bitter flavor. Make sure to really dry it off, before frying it up!
While I used Miyoko's Vegan Mozz for my vegan street corn sauce, I realize it may not be available everywhere. Some good substitutes might include Daiya Mozzarella Shreds or vegan plain cream cheese. The sauce makes this dish come alive, so choose wisely and make sure to taste it before committing to it. If the lime doesn't taste bright enough to you, add a little bit of lemon juice.
This skillet tastes best topped with vegan street corn sauce and some lime wedges on the side. Add some vegan shredded cheese or avocado to take it to the next level!
Soy Curl Street Corn Skillet
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbsp vegan sour cream
¼ cup vegan white soft cheese (I used Miyoko's Vegan Mozz)
1 tsp lime juice
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ cups dehydrated soy curls
2 cups broth (fake chicken preferred)
2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and divided
3 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 scallions, chopped with white parts and green parts divided
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
Lime juice, to taste (I used about ¼ cup)
1 cup sweet corn
1 tsp hot sauce
2 cups chard, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Vegan shredded cheese, to serve (optional)
Lime wedges, to serve (optional)
1. Place soy curls in a large mixing bowl and cover with broth. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes, and then, drain off excess liquid. In a food processor or blender, add everything listed under "sauce". Blend until smooth, taste, and make any adjustments (more lime? salt? etc). Set aside.
2. Over medium-high heat, add 3 Tbsp of olive oil and potatoes to a skillet. Spread out in a single layer, and fry until the potatoes are soft (~15-20 minutes) or until it reaches your desired level of crispness. Flip and stir throughout the cooking process, and keep an eye on them to keep them from burning. Once they are done, spoon out onto a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
3. In the same skillet that the potatoes were cook in, add 3 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 chopped up garlic cloves, jalapeño, and the white parts of the scallion over medium heat. When it starts to sizzle, turn down to low and sauté for 1 minute. Add soy curls, cumin, chili powder, and the smoked paprika. Fry up soy curls until they are your preferred level of crisp and browned. Towards the end of frying, add lime juice. Spoon the soy curls onto a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
3. In the same skillet, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, onions, and the last garlic clove. Sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until the onion is soft. Stir in corn and hot sauce, and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes. Then, stir in chard and tomatoes, and cook 1-2 more minutes, or until chard slightly wilts. Remove from heat, and add fried potatoes, cilantro, the green parts of the scallions, and the soy curls. Add some lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve topped with vegan street corn sauce, vegan shredded cheese, and lime wedges.