Grilled Corn with Spicy Chili Mayo, Coconut, and Fish Sauce

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Grilled corn tossed with a spicy chili mayo spiked with fish sauce, coated in toasted coconut, and served with a sprinkle of cilantro and lime.

Grilled Corn with Spicy Chili Mayo, Coconut, and Fish Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 8
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
Special equipment:Grill
This recipe appears in: Pantry Essentials: All About Fish Sauce The Food Lab: Three Ways to Grill Corn Corn Week: Grilled Corn with Spicy Chili Mayo, Coconut, and Fish Sauce


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek (plus more to taste if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime, plus 1 whole lime cut into 8 segments
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves, divided
  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup dried, flaked, unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted in a toaster oven or in a dry skillet


  1. 1

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  2. 2

    While grill preheats, combine mayonnaise, chili sauce, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves. Set aside.

  3. 3

    Place corn directly over hot side of fire. If using coal grill, keep uncovered. If using gas, cover when not turning corn. Cook the corn, turning every minute or so until it is well charred on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

  4. 4

    Transfer corn to a large bowl. Coat with sauce using a spoon or a brush. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and remaining cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

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