Miso Butter Corn is a recipe that proves simple can be amazing! The magic of a dab of miso. 🙂 This sautéed corn is a side dish that goes with everything, from chicken rissoles to gyoza. Or make a meal out of it with a fried egg, avocado and tortillas for stuffing.
Miso butter corn
The world has David Chang to thank for the miracle that is sautéed corn with miso and butter. He wasn’t the first to make it but he was certainly the one who made it famous! In fact, it was so wildly popular at his New York restaurant that he took it off the menu because he became known as the corn restaurant that happened to serve noodles!
Miso, in case you are new to it, is a soy bean paste that is probably best known as the base for miso soup (here’s my mum’s recipe). A ton of savoury flavour packed into one innocent looking tub (jar/packet). However, because it’s such a powerful ingredient, it is used for so many other dishes, for both Japanese and Western dishes.
Today’s miso corn is a great example. A fusion Asian dish starring miso – err, yes, and corn!
Ingredients in Miso Butter Sautéed Corn
Here’s what you need to make this. Not many ingredients!
Miso butter and other ingredients
Miso – There are all sorts of miso varieties, find one labelled “white miso” or “shiro miso” (“shiro” means “white” in Japanese). Red miso is also fine but use a little less – about 1 heaped tablespoon (miso flavour is a little more intense). (PS My mum has a great little summary on different types of miso in her Miso Soup recipe).
Bacon – Streaky is the best because we use the bacon fat to cook the corn. It’s what makes this dish so good!
Butter – Unsalted, this dish has enough salt from the bacon and miso. If you only have salted, dial back the miso slightly.
Garlic – Because I don’t cook corn without it if butter is also present.
Cooking sake – One of the 3 essential sauces in Japanese cooking, it’s a rice wine made for cooking that you can find in the Asian section of grocery stores these days. It’s used to deglaze the pan after cooking the corn (a cooking term which means to use a liquid to dissolve golden bits stuck on the base of the pan to mix into the sauce) and it adds a touch of extra savouriness into this dish. The alcohol cooks out because it evaporates.
Substitute with mirin or Chinese cooking wine, or water (we just want some liquid to deglaze the pan).
Green onion – For freshness. Cut it a little chunkier than the typical “finely sliced” that is often called for in recipes. We want a decent hit because it’s the freshness here.
White pepper – I use white because it’s habit in Japanese recipes. (Just because this recipe has a touch of miso in it, my brain thinks I’m in the Japanese food cooking sphere). But black pepper is fine too.
Also – Corn!
Yes, we need corn! 😂 Using corn fresh cut off the cob is best because it’s dry so it sautés better for lovely golden spots. Also, flavour (sweeter, better) and texture (firmer, not soggy).
Frozen corn is the next best alternative – use it from frozen but expect to cook longer (thaw>dry>cook) with canned bringing up the rear (it’s the wettest so it doesn’t sauté as well).
Here’s how I cut the corn off the cob without the kernels flying all over the kitchen – large bowl, prop the corn up on a little dish, small knife.
How to cook Miso Butter Corn
This recipe starts by sautéing bacon so the corn can be cooked in the bacon fat for extra tastiness! Then the miso butter is just stirred through at the end until it melts through.
Cut corn off the cob – As mentioned above, prop the corn up on a small ramekin or similar inside a large bowl. Stand upright and cut the kernels off using a small knife. The bowl will catch the kernels so they don’t fly all over your kitchen! A bundt pan also works.
Miso butter – Mix the miso and softened butter until combined.
Cook bacon in its own fat until golden. The fat in the bacon will melt as the pan heats up, so start with a cold pan. No extra oil needed – as long as you use streaky bacon!
Bacon fat – Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon so you keep as much bacon fat in the pan as possible. Then add the corn.
Cook the corn for 4 to 5 minutes until there’s light golden spots, and the corn is sweet and cooked through. (Fresh corn is firmer than frozen and canned corn). To do this, just stir every minute rather than stirring constantly. This gives the corn a chance to get the golden spots.
Add garlic towards the end of the cooking time, else it will burn!
Deglaze – Add the cooking sake and stir until it evaporates. We only use 2 tablespoons so it will evaporate quickly, about 15 seconds or so. The purpose of this step (called deglazing) is to dissolve the golden bits on the base of the pan left from sautéing the corn into the mixture. Those golden bits are called fond and it’s free flavour!
Miso butter – Turn off the stove then stir to melt the miso butter through the corn. We don’t want to sizzle the butter because the miso caramelises quite easily. We want glossy silk buttery sauce through our corn!
Toss the bacon and green onion in, then serve!
Matters of serving
I love how versatile this dish is.
It’s a corn side dish packed with so much flavour that you will happily eat it by the spoonful. Who cares what the main dish is, just gimme all the Miso Butter Corn!
As mentioned earlier, despite the miso in it, this doesn’t taste Japanese or Asian. It’s universally tasty and the flavour profile is such that I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it alongside a pile of Crispy Herb Roasted Chicken with gravy or a Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce. But then, it’s just at home with Asian mains like Chinese Char Sui BBQ Pork, a big plate of gyoza or Grilled Marinated Thai Chicken (Gai Yang).
But my favourite is to turn it into a meal by adding a fried egg, burst roast cherry tomatoes (10 minutes in the oven), avocado and tortillas for scooping/stuffing.
Breakfast, dinner, lunch, any day of the week.
But don’t worry about how I eat it. Tell me how you’d serve this and what you’d serve it with! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Miso butter corn
- 30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
- 1 1/2 tbsp white miso (shiro miso) (Note 1)
- 200g / 7oz streaky bacon , chopped into 1cm / 1/2″ pieces
- 3 cups corn kernels , preferably freshly cut off 3 – 4 corn cobs else frozen thawed (Note 2)
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 2 tbsp cooking sake , optional (sub mirin or dry sherry, Note 3)
- 1/8 tsp white pepper (sub black pepper)
- 1 cup green onion , cut into 0.5cm/0.2″ slices
- Miso butter – Mix butter and miso together in a small bowl until combined.
- Golden bacon – Put bacon in an unheated large non stick pan, no oil. Turn the stove onto medium high heat – as it heats up, the fat will start to melt so the bacon cooks in its own fat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until golden, then use a slotted spoon to transfer onto a paper towel lined plate. Reserve bacon fat in the pan.
- Cook corn – Top up with butter if you don’t have 1 tbsp fat left in pan. Still on medium high, add corn, then stir only every minute or so (this lets it get some nice golden spots), for about 5 minutes until corn is just cooked and is sweet. Add garlic, stir for another 30 seconds. Add sake, stir until evaporated (~15 seconds).
- Melt miso butter – Turn off stove. Add miso butter, stir until melted. Add pepper, bacon and green onion, toss until coated with sauce. Serve!
- Serve as a side dish. In a corn taco with a fried egg and avocado (OMG SO GOOD).
Life of Dozer
Summer has arrived early here in Sydney! (Also a good Dozer size-context photo. BIG!)