In chef Meherwan Irani’s fresh take on the Indian street-food dish bhel, grilled sweet corn and fresh vegetables are tossed with a cumin-lime dressing and corn poha, a popular puffed corn snack. Irani fries his own corn poha, but store-bought unsweetened corn flakes make an excellent substitute.
All of the ingredients can be prepared in advance, but for the brightest flavor, wait until just before serving to mix in the dressing. Leaving some of the husk on the corn will prevent the kernels from drying out; if purchased pre-shucked, wrap the cobs in aluminum foil before grilling.
For the dressing:
- 1⁄4 medium red onion (2 oz.), diced
- 1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 6 ears yellow or white sweet corn, tough outer leaves removed
- 1 1⁄2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1⁄2 medium red onion (4 oz.), finely diced
- 2 cups unsweetened corn flakes
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt
Make the dressing: In a blender or small food processor, add the onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, sugar, and pepper; purée until smooth. With the machine running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the oil is fully incorporated. Transfer the dressing to a small bowl and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Make the salad: Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 400°F) or a grill pan over high heat. Add the corn and cook, turning occasionally as the husk darkens on each side, until the kernels are lightly browned all over (peel back the husk to check), 10–15 minutes. Remove from the grill and let cool to room temperature.
Using a sharp chef's knife, gently slice the corn kernels off each cob. Transfer the kernels to a large bowl and set aside (reserve the cobs for another use or discard). Add the cucumber, tomatoes, and onion; toss well to combine. Immediately before serving, add the corn flakes, cilantro, and mint; toss gently to combine without breaking up the corn flakes. Add ½ cup of the dressing (reserve any remaining for another use), and toss gently to coat. Season with salt, then serve immediately.