Elotes, or Mexican street corn is traditionally grilled corn on the cob that is covered with an assortment of toppings including sour cream, mayo, cojita cheese, chili powder, lime juice, and cilantro. These fritters capture all of those familiar flavors, but are rolled up and fried into a delicious ball of goodness.
Elotes are a street food commonly sold at those little carts (the ones that you wonder if it’s safe to eat are usually the yummiest). However, these days, I feel like you can find them at certain food trucks and some restaurants as well. I have a bunch of coworkers who always get elotes in a cup. Basically it’s just corn kernels with all the extra toppings (sour cream, mayo, cheese, lime, chili powder and cilantro) served in a cup, making it much more convenient to eat. It’s like a comfort food because of it has those rich/heavy elements, but it’s brightened up with the lime and cilantro. The combination of flavors of the traditional street corn is a winner in itself, so why not kick it up a notch and fry it? Thus was born the elotes fritter!
This is the recipe I followed, but I made a few changes:
1. It calls for 6 ears of corn that you need to roast. I did not want to go through that trouble, so I took a little shortcut and used frozen corn that was already roasted for me! You can do the same or grill up some corn (or use leftover grilled corn if you had a recent bbq).
2. I added panko and flour the fritter mixture because the original recipe warns that they are very fragile. I found this to help immensely.
3. I used queso fresco instead of cojita cheese. After doing some research, I found that queso fresco is “fresh cheese” giving it a softer and more melt-able quality while cojita is more aged, giving it a more distinct flavor and texture (and it does not melt as well). I chose queso fresco because I just love it (see my nectarine & strawberry salad post to read more about my love of queso fresco).
4. I added Tajín to the fritter mixture and sprinkled it on top. Tajin is the red powder you see sometimes served on fruit, like mangoes. It’s chili powder, dehydrated lime, and salt. If you don’t have it, you can use chili powder instead, but adjust the amount according to your spice tolerance.
5. I did not add the sambal chili to the lime crema, but instead, sprinkled extra Tajín over the top of everything.
Once your fritters and nicely fried, crispy and golden brown, serve immediately with toppings – lime crema, cilantro, Tajín, and queso fresco.
It may seem a little cumbersome to go through all these steps, but I promise it’s not that bad, and it’s all worth it. It takes a little planning, but each individual step is not hard. I was also hesitant to make these because I usually avoid recipes that require deep frying because I think it’ll be really hard and messy, etc. But don’t be scared- I just used a normal pot with just enough oil to cover the fritters. It wasn’t that messy, it wasn’t that scary, and I’m so glad I did it! You will be too!
- 6 ears roasted corn (or 4.5 cups frozen roasted corn)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2.5 cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
- 3 tsp Tajín (chili/lime powder)
- Oil for frying
- Garnishes: crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro, Tajin
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- Heat butter and 2 tbsp flour in medium skillet over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until butter is melted and the raw flour flavor has cooked off (1-2 minutes).
- Slowly add milk while whisking continuously. (3-4 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in corn kernels, queso fresco, 1/2 cup panko, 1/2 cup flour, eggs, Tajín, salt and pepper. Let cool at room temperature and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Once chilled, remove from fridge. Pour remaining panko into a dish and season with salt and pepper. Shape corn mixture into a ball (about 1-1.5 tbsp per ball). Coat completely in panko. Place on baking tray lined with wax paper.
- Freeze fritters for at least 1 hour prior to frying.
- In a small pot over medium heat, heat up enough oil to completely cover the fritter (or use deep fryer). The oil is hot enough when the panko starts sizzling as soon as it hits the oil. Gently place a couple fritters in the oil and fry until golden brown and crispy on all sides, flipping occasionally (about 4-5 minutes total).
- Carefully remove fritters and place on paper towel to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all fritters are fried.
- Serve immediately with lime crema (instructions below), Tajín, cilantro, and queso fresco.
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Season with salt as necessary.