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Indonesian Corn ‘Ribs’

Jackie Kearney
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 30
  • Ready: 45

An Indonesian twist on the deliciously messy social media sensation!




  • 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.

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from Healthy Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£20)

Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small

“Corn ‘ribs’ have become a bit of a social media sensation during the last few years, so I decided to give them an Indonesian twist. Barbequed/grilled corn cobs are one of the most widely available street food snacks in Indonesia, even in the most remote areas.

We had been driving our way around the island of Lombok for a month, taking the coastal road clockwise from the capital Mataram on the west coast. With its scarcely used but well tarmacked roads, it’s an incredibly easy place to self-drive and explore. We hiked up to mountain waterfalls and crater lakes, snorkelled the choppier reefs off the northern lava sand beaches and rested in homestays. Stopping for roasted corn (and watermelon) roadside snacks were often memorable moments in very remote areas. Big juicy cobs strung over the side of barbeque/outdoor grill barrels spluttered and sizzled. This was no drive-through moment, especially if there was sambal. Deliciously messy!”

Front cover of 'Healthy Vegan Street Food' by Jackie Kearney

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