Sumba creamed corn

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

In her open-air Sumbanese kitchen, Fransiska Lali shares with me her children’s favourite dish, creamed corn with coconut milk. Rooster cries pierce the air as we cook. ‘We call their sound kukuruyuk-kukuruyuk, and we use the same word for women who talk too much!’ she laughs warmly. The browned butter is Fransiska’s delightful addition to this Sumba comfort food.


  • 300 g (10½ oz) sweetcorn (2 large cobs)
  • 40 g ( oz) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stick, bruised and tied in a knot
  • 3 lime leaves
  • 200 ml (generous ¾ cup) full-fat coconut milk


Shave off the sweetcorn kernels into a bowl, then use the back of the knife to scrape against the cobs, pressing out any milky liquid.

Heat the butter in a pan, swirling occasionally as it first melts, then foams and darkens to a toasty golden. As soon as it smells nutty, tip in the onion and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and soften in the browned butter.

Tip the sweetcorn into the pan along with the lemongrass, lime leaves and coconut milk. Warm through, then lower the heat to a whisper and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The corn should be tender, sweet and creamy. Remove the lemongrass.