Grilled Corn With Spicy Chili Mayo, Coconut, and Fish Sauce Recipe

Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Shucking the corn before grilling imparts smoky, charred flavor to the kernels, which you don't get from grilling corn in the husk.
  • Grilling your corn naked also helps it cook faster.

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.


3 Ways to Grill Corn

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 8 servings

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  • 1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek (plus more to taste, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) 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. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of 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 grilling grate.

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

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

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

Special equipment

Grill, chimney starter

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