num pang corn
In case you thought my obsession with Num Pang ended with their sandwiches - think again! Their corn with chili mayo and coconut is equally habit-forming and makes - legit - the foinest side for a wannabe banh mi. This duo is so on point that when I’m cutting back on carbohydrates (cuz y’all know how I do), I always opt to forgo the sandwich bread to make room for one of these chili mayo-slathered, coconut-sprinkled cob of carbs.
They bring back good memories for me too. Back when I worked at Rockefeller Center in NYC, I hardly ever left my desk during the day aside from running to the food court downstairs, but anytime I did was to meet Cos for a little lunch date at the nearby Num Pang. We’d sprint over from our respective buildings and stand at the communal counter, devouring our sandwiches and our “shared” side of corn (which I always hogged), airing our work grievances and discussing my favorite topic - what’s for dinner tonight. A pile of napkins and a quick kiss later, we’d both be off for the long waddle back to the office. Because, sure, eating a giant sandwich and an entire corn on the cob for lunch is aggressive (if not inadvisable) when staying awake for the rest of the workday was a thing you were planning to do.
Despite that, I’m regret free. Not only was it the tastiest habit I’ve ever had, it also landed me a new friend. No joke, my once-coworker Sarine and I became friends after enough daily lunch runs to Num Pang in a row that I basically needed to start seeing a cardiologist. How could I turn down the opportunity to spend half an hour cackling away with someone else who loved stuffing her face full of brisket, pickled veggies, and corn, and being way the fuck too loud in the breakroom as much as I did? I could never.
Now Sarine and I do our thing (ie, stuff our faces and talk loudly while eating) all over the US, from Miami to Palm Springs, and it all started with a sammie and a cob. Clearly I have a lot to be grateful for on account of this corn, not least of all for having been in my belly so many truly lovely times. So like, thanks corn, ‘preciate it! Here’s my homage to you.
Corn with Chili Mayo and Coconut, aka Num Pang Corn, sourced from the Today Show website of all places
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or coconut flakes)
4 to 6 corn on the cob, cleaned with no husk
1 cup of mayo
1 tbsp sriracha or chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
A few sprinkles of chili powder, for garnish (optional)
1 or 2 limes, cut up for squeezing
If you’re using coconut flakes, start by dry toasting them in a skillet, because the big flakes don’t compliment the flavors as much when raw. If you’re using shredded, no need to toast.
In a wide shallow bowl, mix mayo, sriracha, sugar, salt and pepper until combined. Store in the fridge while you prepare the corn. Place the corn in a separate large bowl or pan and cover with cold water. Allow corn to soak for least 10 minutes.
Using a grill pan or cast iron skillet, coat with nonstick spray and heat the pan over medium high, until almost smoking. Remove the corn from the water, shaking off all excess, and place the on the hot pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Turn cobs every 3 or so minutes so that they cook evenly and get a couple good-looking charred spots on all sides. Set cooked cobs on a plate to rest and continue in batches until all corn is cooked.
Bring the mayo mixture back out from the fridge and roll the still-warm corn in the mixture. (The original recipe says to brush corn on all sides with butter before rolling it in the mixture, but I usually skip.) Sprinkle with coconut flakes and a few dashes of chili powder if you have some around. (I was out when I took these photos). Serve with lime wedges, some wannabe banh mis, and plenty of napkins!