Indonesian Corn ‘Ribs’

Corn ‘ribs’ have become a bit of a social media sensation during the last few years – here Jackie Kearney gives them an Indonesian twist. Barbequed corn cobs are one of the most widely available street food snacks in Indonesia, even in the most remote areas.

Healthy Vegan Street Food


4 large corn cobs, or use frozen and fully defrosted

Scant ½ teaspoon coriander seeds

Scant ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, or use culinary coconut or good-quality vegetable oil

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped, or use 2 teaspoons garlic paste

2.5 cm/1 inch thumb of fresh galangal, or use fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, or 1 heaped tablespoon galangal or ginger paste

2–4 small red Thai chillies, finely chopped, to taste, or use ½ tablespoon sambol olek

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 large tomato, roughly chopped, or use ½ x 400 g can tomatoes, drained

3–4 tablespoons coconut cream, or use the thickest part of canned coconut milk

1 teaspoon date syrup, or use pure maple syrup or unrefined coconut sugar

1 lime

2 tablespoons red-skinned peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped handful of freshly chopped coriander

1 tablespoon desiccated shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Baking sheet, lined with parchment


Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Using a sharp knife, slice the corn cobs lengthways into quarters.

Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Lightly toast for 1 minute, then add half the coconut oil. Add the chopped onion to the pan and fry gently for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, galangal, chillies, turmeric and salt. Mix well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomato and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until the tomato has completely broken down. Add the coconut cream and date syrup, mix well and check the seasoning, adding more salt if needed. 

Rub the corn ribs with the remaining oil and arrange them on the lined baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15–20 minutes until golden brown. (If you don’t have whole corn cobs, you can simply add canned or frozen corn to the sauce and serve as a kind of corn curry.)

Using a zester, remove the rind from the lime, roughly chop it (not too fine) and set aside. Halve the lime and add 1 tablespoon of the juice to the sauce.

Pile up the (now curvy) corn ribs onto a big platter and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted peanuts, fresh coriander, coconut and lime rind. Serve immediately.


This recipe is Healthy Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney. To get more great blog posts like this one – direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.