How Indian desi style Bhutta differs from the rest of the world?Aug 21, 2018
Trending topics in India point out that if ever in India, there is a race for picking the most delectable, zero-calorie, spicy, street food off the road, hands-down, 99 out of 100 times, one would grab the roasted corn on the cob, liberally spiced with chilli and sprinkled with salt and fresh lime juice. Sour, tangy, hot, spicy and health-friendly, it ticks all the right boxes and is so light on your pocket that you wouldn’t mind treating the entire group of friends on your pocket money, if it comes to that. However, Indians do not take too kindly to having their roasted ears of corn, lightly seared. It should be well done to perfection and finished by blistering it on the searing heat and amply spiced with chilli pepper and salt and a fresh slice of lemon, to squeeze as they go.
Corn on the cob is relished all over the world and is a staple summer essential in most places. It is the perfect backyard barbeque item, at times basted with butter and salt and pepper or else, at times doused with soy and sweet chilli sauce for a tangier version. Different countries, across the globe have mastered their art of preparing Corn on the Cob in their own distinct manner.
The Global take on Corn on Cob:
While the Americans prefer wrapped in bacon and then subjected to broiling or grilling, Mexicans eat the ‘elotes’ smoked and grilled with a slather of mayonnaise or sour cream on top and liberally spiced. The Japanese have their own native take on it in the form of ‘okonomiyaki’ which is basically a pancake cooked with bacon, shrimps and vegetables. The Taiwanese prefer having their charred corn with a liberal covering of animal lard or butter / oil for the more sophisticated traveller and served with soy paste and sweet chilli sauce. The Africans take it up a notch and slice it and cook it like a perfectly spiced and fresh curry, frequently referred to over there as ‘Makai Paka’. The Italians, true to their roots smear it with garlic butter and sprinkle cheese and chopped parsley to lend that exotic Mediterranean touch. The Middle East too love having their ears of corn with basted butter and pepper mix.
What sets the Indian desi style ‘Bhutta’ classically apart from the rest is the cooking process which retains authenticity of the dish and the naturalness of the flavour intact. With minimal use of spices, apart from the regular salt-chilli powder mixture, no other sauces or masala are used to interfere with its wholesome taste. The sheer magic lies in the process of cooking it over an open fire with frequent shuffling so as at to avoid charring. The sprinkling of salt-red pepper is done at the fag end and a slice of lemon squeezed on top and handed over to the buyer, to re-squeeze intermittently, as per discretion.
Trending topics today suggest that the zero calorie and the zero fat option of Indian ‘bhutta’ makes it irresistible for the health aficionados, who are on the lookout for something tangy and yummy, while on the go. The humble ‘Bhutta’ is rich in carotenoids which makes the bile juices flow freely and aid digestion during the dicey monsoon season when germs are at full play in the dirt outside. The ample quantity of anti-oxidants help in increasing the body’s immunity and in this season it is most in demand and the phyto-nutrients present in this roadside street food is amazing for the heart, too.
It is not surprising then that be it hill stations or crowded beaches or the everyday roadside, the fabulously well roasted corn on the cob is a regular feature of the Indian street food and a must-have item during the monsoons. There is just something so intrinsically romantic about being huddled under an umbrella and devouring a ‘bhutta’ that if you haven’t yet done it, believe me, you are missing out on life’s greatest pleasures.