Pimm’s & Taiwanese Grilled Corn

To avoid moping upon my departure from London, I focused on getting excited about returning to Florida for the first time in nearly a year. To counteract all the un-conquered items on my London List that will have to wait until 2014, I made a fresh list of things I’ve missed about Southern USA culture and my own Taiwanese household.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Right up there with dental appointments and breakfast grits was grilling out. It’s not an exclusively American thing, but it’s something I didn’t get much of while crammed into the student accommodation of a drizzly city.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Grilling is massively different from going out for dinner or even having lunch at Grandma’s house; it often means spending a whole day in the sun with family, friends, and neighbours. The men brandish tongs and admire the char on their steaks; the women gossip by the pool but swoop in to the rescue when something inevitably catches aflame; kids compete for the biggest cannonball splash. Iced tea and fluorescent pool floaties are always involved. There are arguments over the last hot dog.

This time, though, I wanted to infuse a bit of England and Taiwan—two places (alongside the USA) with which I’ll forever have ties.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

As soon as the London sun peeks out after Spring showers and the temperature creeps up enough to warrant wandering outside without a heavy-duty jacket, “Pimms O’Clock!” is scrawled on the chalkboard sign in front of every pub and café’s outdoor seating area. The gin-based liqueur is a staple at Wimbledon and posh garden parties, picnics and patio gatherings. It’s no wonder; a pitcher-full is very pretty indeed, packed full of fresh fruit and mint leaves. I was more than happy to lug two bottles of it across the world from Heathrow’s duty-free shop, positive that it was the perfect souvenir for my parents.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Taiwanese street food, on the other hand, is one thing from my list that I can’t quite satisfy here in Florida. Corn on the cob, however, is one common street snack that overlaps with the grill-out. A common sight at night markets and street vendors, cobs are first glazed with a sweet, spicy, savoury sauce before getting grilled to slightly-charred perfection.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

While my mom watched me grill these up, she recounted how they tell the vendors, “更焦一點!”—just a little bit more burnt. The varieties of corn in Taiwan are typically a bit stodgier, so this does the ears a favour and also explains the bold sauce. Many sauce recipes include something called sa cha sauce, which is a Chinese paste consisting of shallots, garlic, chilis, brill fish, and dried shrimp. While it’s an excellent and versatile savoury condiment, I find that the sweet corn found in America really doesn’t need the headstrong umami of fermented seafood.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

For high-temperature grilling, it’s important to use a fat with a high smoke point to avoid the breakdown of molecules into harmful acrolein. Taiwan traditionally uses lard, but I use canola/rapeseed oil here because of its healthy unsaturated fats and neutral, unobtrusive flavour that doesn’t get in the way of all the caramelised goodness.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Pimm’s Pitcher

  • 1 part Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 parts lemonade
  • 1 part ginger beer
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 peach, sliced (optional)
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • handful of mint
  • ice, to serve

Wash and prep all ingredients. Combine all liquids in appropriate ratios, adjusting to personal tastes if necessary. Serve chilled, preferably at a cute summer garden party.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Taiwanese Grilled Corn

  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 T soy paste (or soy sauce)
  • 2 t turbinado
  • ½ t cayenne pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 T oil with high smoke point
  • 1 T sa cha sauce (optional)

Crush your whole garlic cloves to infuse your sauce with goodness—I like using the side of a Chinese cleaver. Combine all the sauces and whisk in your oil until emulsified.
Brush the sauce onto your corn, rotating on the grill every few minutes so that each ear gets a healthy char all around.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

It’s good to be home, if only for a while.

Pimm's and Taiwanese Grilled Corn

 

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56 Responses to Pimm’s & Taiwanese Grilled Corn

  1. Wow everything here looks so good!! Can I come to your next cook-out? ;) That drink sounds seriously amazing.

  2. I love your pictures, they make me smile and want to jump through the screen to grab a corn! Everything looks delicious!

  3. Your photos are amazing!! I want some of that grilled corn on the cob right now!

  4. Monica says:

    I have to tell you I’m totally distracted by your photos to give your writing proper attention. : ) I see lovely drinks, delicious-looking corn and a great feast! Looks perfect and something to make mom proud. Good luck with your travels back to Florida.

    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks so much, Monica. Hahah dang, I’ll have to make my font size bigger and neon-coloured. That’s always something I’m slightly concerned with, but I guess it’s better than having no pretty pictures at all!

  5. I love your photos. Those corn depictions are so spot-on. Now that I’ve been eating so much raw corn, I’m ready to throw some on the grill! I feel like I’m the one American without a grill though…

    • wandercrush says:

      Cheers, Grace! It’s hard to believe you don’t have a grill! Ah well, your food never seems to suffer from it and I guess it just means you’d adjust to cold European countries well ;)

  6. I’m going to have to try that Pimm’s cocktail. I’ve never had it before. Your pictures are always so gorgeous- bright and cheerful. They make me smile :)

  7. Taiwanese street foods rarely disappoint me, I bet this won’t be an exception too.

  8. I am so excited about grilled corn recipe!! I am waiting my crop of corn that i planted to be ready in a few days, so I will try that recipe for sure^^

  9. Never knew Pimm’s was gin based. We were actually talking about buying a bottle and trying it out last week. My daughter studied in London and loved it. Have a great time at home and eat lots of corn. Your pictures are truly outstanding!

    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks so much, Abbe! Oooh, you and your daughter should definitely indulge with some Pimm’s while summer is still hanging about :) I’m sure it’ll bring her back to the time she spent in England, too.

  10. My friends hate pimm’s but I love it! This such a flavourful recipe for corn, I can not wait to try it hot and cold the next day

  11. Caz says:

    This looks amazing! You are combining two of my favourite things, pimms and grilled corn though I’m not sure I’ve ever had the two together. :) It looks like a delicious spread. Sorry you have left drizzly London. I hope you enjoy settling back in to life in Florida!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I am ecstatic I stumbled upon your blog Caz, not only because I loved your Thailand food photos but I grew up drinking Pimms! This recipe looks delicious.

  13. All of your travelling gives you so much experience and makes you really well-rounded. I love your blog because I learn so much about foods and cultures. Grilled corn is so perfect for this time of year too!

    • wandercrush says:

      What a nice thing to say, Laura! Honestly, that’s so encouraging and I’m just glad you enjoy all my ramblings. Readers like you keep me going whenever blogging gets a bit stressful.

  14. You read my mind with this post – I’ve been dying to try Pimm’s lately! I keep hearing about it everywhere, and I just know I would like it. Can I have it with some of those grilled prawns, please? :)

    • wandercrush says:

      Oh, good to hear! I hope this has pushed you in the direction of trying it for yourself. I’d offer you some grilled prawns, but they disappeared way too quickly ;)

  15. This is a perfect cookout! I adore the photographs with you, and your friends/family in them just enough to really get an idea of the deliciousness of the feast. The sauce for the corn sounds perfect. :) Lovely.

  16. Wow that cocktail surely looks amazing. Would surely try this when I keep my next party at home.

  17. The corn looks delicious! I can get real messy with them. YUM! :)

  18. This has summer written all over it! I’m reading this freezing in Melbourne lol. A glass of pimms and bbq corn sounds like bliss right about now. Beautiful shots.

    • wandercrush says:

      Hahah, I hope you were able to warm up a little bit vicariously :) On the other hand, I bet you’re able to enjoy some nice hot steaming bowls of noodles and stews right about now!

  19. Love the photos – what a great travelling experience. Definately will have to try that corn recipie…so authentic!

    And pimm’s pitcher…sounds so refreshing!

    .:Marta:.

  20. Sissi says:

    I think I will experiment soon with Pimm’s. I see this in supermarkets all the time and had no idea it was so popular in the UK. Thank you for the excellent cocktail recipe! I wish I had a grill… All the guests must have gone crazy for this corn.

    • wandercrush says:

      Yes, do it Sissi! I was hesitant about posting a drink recipe at all because I’m mostly clueless about that type of thing, but Pimm’s is the exception ;) I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

  21. I love Pimm’s! One of my favorite summer drinks. Never added ginger beer to it, though – I’ll have to give that a try. And the corn looks spectacular! Really entertaining post – thanks so much.

  22. Joanne says:

    There’s always a silver lining. :) I definitely miss grilling also! It’s just not doable in NYC.

  23. I’ve never had Pimms’ before and now I’m wondering why!!! Need to change this ASAP!

    Love the photos and everything is so colorful :)

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  25. Hannah says:

    Omg… this… this is Pimms done right! /tips hat

  26. Hi Irina! I remembered these kinds of corn! I am in love with your vintage photos! Your photos are all beautiful and breathtaking, I feel like I live through you! I look forward to reading more of your beautiful posts! It’s so nice to meet another Asian blogger, plus I’m also from Taiwan ^_^

    Cheers, Rika

  27. Wow. Your blog is amazing. Your life is amazing. I’m so glad I checked it out! And all of this food looks divine! I will be back for sure!

  28. Helena says:

    Never heard about this cocktail before (I’m not really nuts about alcohol drinking actually) but I find it so tantalising with all these fresh tasty and colourful ingredients ! Will keep it in mind for some day…
    As for the grilled corn, I’ve already had the time and chance to give it a go and really enjoyed it ! I used no sa cha sauce but soy paste which gives much of its depth to the sauce, in my opinion. Sadly I had to make in the oven but hope I’ll have the occasion to have it grilled on a barbecue next time ! Thanks for sharing Irina :)

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