What makes this traditional Mexican street food so special (and, in my opinion, amazing) is the ability to customize. By changing the ingredients, you can make your elote as creamy, spicy, or cheesy as you like. You can have them on the cob or in a cup, however you like.
Personally, I love them all loaded with lots of toppings. I love it when each bite is as creamy as the last.
Even though I had only been at the University of Miami for a few weeks, I was already feeling a little homesick lately. When I was growing up in Chicago, getting an elot was as easy as grabbing $4 and taking a short 10-minute walk. In Mexico? They were on almost every street corner!
Here? I’m not even sure it’s possible to get one.
However, using what I remembered about them and with a little help from my older sister, I was able to create a very simple recipe suitable for the average broke college student. With this recipe, you can create a taste of Mexico in your own dorm.
You will need corn, mayonnaise (for best results I suggest using a lime flavored one), lime juice and tajin seasoning, which, oddly enough, can be found in the aisle products at Kroger and not with other Hispanic foods.
The cheese is tricky, as traditionally you use crumbled cotija cheese, but grated parmesan cheese works as a perfect substitute. (Cotija can also be found at Kroger, this time in the Hispanic food section towards the back.) You can choose to use different cheeses, but the flavor may be different.
Some people also choose to add Valentina hot sauce, as it gives the elotes an extra kick.
Finally, you’ll need Parkay Squeeze margarine spread, commonly found in the dairy aisle. Funnily enough, most recipes omit this, but in my opinion, this is what makes the elot. Every street vendor I’ve seen uses it, and it’s that creamy, buttery taste that’s responsible for it.
To summarize, a list of ingredients:
- Corn of your choice
Mayo (lime flavored is best)
Grated cotija or parmesan cheese
Valentina hot sauce (optional)
Lime juice (if you didn’t have lime flavored mayonnaise)
Parkay Squeeze Margarine Spread
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For starters, corn. Like this entire recipe, this portion is entirely up to personal preference.
Although grilled is my favorite, I opted to microwave my corn. If your corn is still in its husk, simply remove it, then wrap it in a damp paper towel and microwave until the kernels are tender, which should take about 3-5 minutes. You can also boil it or take the easier route and buy it canned.
Then simply remove the kernels from the cob. This is most easily done with a fork.
Now you can go ahead and start assembling your elote by creating a mixture of mayonnaise, Parkay Squeeze, tajin and cheese in a cup. It’s important not to use too much of an ingredient as it could overpower the corn, but the ratio is entirely up to you!
You’ll then drop your corn into the cup, leaving room for a final layer of, again, Parkay Squeeze, mayo, tajin, and cheese. Finally, squeeze in some lime juice (if you used plain mayo) and drizzle on your optional hot sauce as a finishing touch.
And with that, you now have your own elot in a cup. Honestly, it turned out amazing when I made it and tasted like the street vendors in Chicago. The flavors brought me home and cured my homesickness a bit.
It’s something you can do over and over again, because the ingredients aren’t meant for one-time use, and best of all, the corn is extremely inexpensive. I mean, we’re in Ohio, after all.