Bhutta – Spicy Stovetop Grilled Corn


Bhutta is the Indian word for corn. Available in abundance during the monsoon, Bhutta is eaten either grilled or boiled but like most delicious Indian foods it is slathered in a bunch of spices (which is very different for the two versions) to help lift up the flavor profile to the quintessential Indian best!

There was a phase of my life when I was into some serious workout sessions. Every morning and evening was spent doing some hard core exercising. The control of my diets however required no effort from me at all. I lived in a hostel at my university. And, we all know how appetizing cafeteria food can be. With my eat-to-survive mode on, my 3 square meals consisted of just that, 3 square meals required to keep your brain and heart functioning.

This phase however came with a bit of indulgence. But of course! Me being me, there is no way that I would not make sure the food I eat was food I enjoyed, right?!

The summers meant that I would be stopping at a food cart with an old man cutting into fresh pineapples and smearing some red chili powder over them. This was an everyday affair and I mean, every, single, day. An occasional raw mango or guava thrown in, my summers were rather fruity. No matter how small (or meager actually) my 3 square meals were, these small trips to the food cart kept the foodie in me, alive.

Then, came the monsoons and the days leading up to winters. While my mornings were spent in the gym, my evenings were 2-3 mile walk out and back into the university campus and hostel. On one such evening walks, I spotted a bhutta-wala (corn vendor) at a street corner with corn stacked up as high as the sky. A skillet with red hot coal in it with semi roasted bhutta layered on it, a hand fan in one hand moving rigourously over the corn and the other turning the corn around, sparks flying up against the drizzling background air, that day marked the beginning of my love affair with corn.

Not that I had never eaten bhutta before. Called Muskin Jola in my home town, I was always fond of it but deprivation of food was what I needed to truly appreciate the juicy niblets of bhutta. You know like a flashlight in a dark room. Slather some green, spicy, chili-cilantro-mint chutney on it and ……. What can I say? Anything said in praise about this heavenly delight would still fall short.