This smoky Cambodian grilled corn recipe makes poat dot, a Cambodian street food snack of barbecued corn on the cob brushed with a delightfully sweet and salty sauce made from coconut milk, fish sauce and spring onions. While I love eating this on the street I prefer making it at home. It’s super easy.
Our deliciously-charred Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot makes a Cambodian street food snack, that’s hugely popular during corn season (and with good reason!), of corn on the cob that’s continually brushed with a delightfully creamy salty-sweet sauce as it’s being barbecued.
When you make this street food favourite yourself, you can not only cook the corn to your liking – we prefer our corn cobs more charred than it’s sold on the street – but you can also make sure you get the sauce balanced to your taste (it’s often too sweet for me when done on the street) and you can serve extra sauce on the side. Before I tell you about Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot, I have a favour to ask.
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Now let me tell you about this Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot.
Cambodian Grilled Corn Recipe for Poat Dot with Fish Sauce, Coconut Milk and Spring Onions
Soon after Cambodia’s corn harvests, corn is sold as a street food snack in various forms, both savoury and sweet, all over the country. In Cambodian cities such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang, grilled corn on the cob is sold from mobile street food carts in the late afternoon and evening.
Cambodian street food corn is either traditionally steamed and served solo or the corn is grilled and brushed with this wonderful sauce made with coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and spring onions. When it’s good, it’s sooooo good, but when it’s bad, it’s horrid.
I have to confess that as much as I adore Cambodian food (obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent eight years researching it!) poat dot was one snack that never got me excited. I always found the sauce to be sickly sweet and way too overpowering.
By contrast, the tangy sweet sauce of this Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot that I make at home is more balanced. It’s ‘same same but different’ to the sauces for poat dot I have sampled on the street, which have increasingly been on the sweeter rather than tangier side as tastes have changed in Cambodia.
Tips to Making this Cambodian Grilled Corn Recipe for Poat Dot
I only have a few tips for making this smoky Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot as it couldn’t be easier. Always use fresh seasonal corn. Don’t make this if you can’t buy corn on the cob. If you can grill your corn cobs over an open flame, fantastic, as the flavour will be so wonderfully smoky.
Since we’ve lived in Cambodia, Terence has grilled our corn (among other things) over a traditional clay brazier just like most Cambodians do at home and street food vendors do on the streets. He loves his coconut charcoal BBQ briquettes. When we can’t cook outside we will use this stovetop Korean BBQ grill pan or this griddle pan on the stove as I did when I made this yesterday. If we were in Australia, I know Terence would be using one of these outdoor barbecue or grills if he could.
When it comes to fish sauce, we have a large collection of fish sauces and use Cambodian fish sauces for Cambodian recipes, Vietnamese fish sauces for Vietnamese dishes, Thai fish sauces for Thai food etc. But if you’re living outside Southeast Asia and don’t have access to a wide selection of fish sauces, we recommend Thailand’s Megachef for a top quality fish sauce for most Southeast Asian recipes, as its sodium levels are always consistent.
Megachef is easy to find in Australia, however, our American friends often recommend Red Boat Fish Sauce although we haven’t tried it as we’ve never seen it in Southeast Asia. If you’ve used it with Cambodian food, please let us know what you think.
Cambodian Grilled Corn Recipe for Poat Dot
- 4 corn cobs
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 50 g spring onions sliced
- neutral cooking oil
- Remove the corn husks and silk threads, then wash the corn cobs, and pat them dry well with paper kitchen towels, and set aside to completely dry.
- In a small mixing bowl, make the sauce by combining the coconut milk, two tablespoons of fish sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 50 g spring onions, sliced. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary, adding more fish sauce, sugar or salt to your liking, then set aside. Note that as the flavours meld together, they will become stronger and more complex, so don’t over-do the salt/sugar.
- Lay the four corn cobs down on a dry skillet pan or a grill over medium-high heat (if you’re able to control the heat), then using a silicon brush, dip it into a neutral cooking oil and brush each side of the corn.
- Turn the cobs every couple of minutes so the corn kernels are tender, then once you’ve turned the corn completely, brush the top side of each corn cob with the coconut milk fish sauce and leave for a minute or two, then turn the cobs, brush the top side again, then leave the cobs for a couple of minutes, and repeat for about 15 minutes until all sides are charred and the corn kernels are nice and tender.
- When the corn cobs are done, transfer them to a serving tray or plate. Brush more sauce over the cobs, sprinkle some fresh slices of spring onions on top, and serve them with the remainder of the sauce in a dish – along with small spoons, a finger bowl and napkins.
Do let us know if you made this Cambodian grilled corn recipe for poat dot as we’d love to know how it turned out for you.