move over popcorn, these PANCAKES/FRITTERS are even more addicting!Jump to Recipe
I first had this dish at a Chinese restaurant and thought it to be such a delicious appetizer! It was simple yet so addictive. I simply couldn’t get enough of it.
Through my research, I quickly learned that it is called “玉米烙” or “Yumi Lao.” It is a classic dish from the region of Chaoshan. It is typical eaten with a sprinkle of powdered sugar but I’ve seen it topped with a drizzle of mayonnaise as well.
This dish requires only four major ingredients, corn (duh!), some kind of starch (corn starch, potato starch etc), sugar and frying oil as well as 15 minutes of your time.
However, you can totally spice up this dish by adding different seasonings including Tajin (read below for an “elotes” style corn fritter/pancake), Italian seasoning or even BBQ seasoning! It’s a very good canvas for different flavors. Any flavor that goes well with corn can go on this pancake/fritter!
This recipe only takes four ingredients!
Sweet Corn (canned, fresh or frozen)
Sugar (any type of powdered/granulated sweetener)
Corn Starch (Potato Starch, Arrowroot Powder, or Rice Flour will work)
Frying Oil (Vegetable Oil, Peanut Oil, Corn Oil, or Canola Oil)
How do I make it?
1. Prepare your corn. This recipe works well with fresh, frozen or canned corn. Fresh corn will give you the best flavor though!
If you are using fresh corn, you can just fry it as is. You wouldn’t need to blanch it beforehand because it will just cook in the oil. The total frying time varies from 7-10 minutes so fresh corn should be cooked within that time frame.
If you are using frozen corn, I highly highly recommend that you thaw it beforehand! Water and hot oil are the worst of enemies! I wouldn’t want you to get hurt by hot oil 🙁 Please be careful!
If you are using canned corn, I recommend using sweet whole kernel corn because it has a better flavor. You will need to drain the corn before coating it in the starch because 1. liquid and oil are NOT besties 2. if you combine water and cornstarch together, it becomes oobleck. You do not want it to become oobleck because it’s super hard to cook and dangerous as well. Due to its properties, it will not fall off of your spoon quickly enough into the frying oil causing potential burns.
Oobleck: A non-Newtonian fluid; it has properties of both liquids and solids meaning that when you combine water and cornstarch together, it feels liquidy when you’re mixing it slowly and solid when you hit the surface on it quickly.
2. Season your corn. You can add whatever seasonings you want to the corn but I just added plain sugar because I just wanted extra sweetness in my corn. I advise against using any liquid sweeteners because it doesn’t mix well with cornstarch. Stick to the granulated or powder sweeteners for the best product!
You can either season your corn at this stage or season the fritter once it has been fried or both honestly!
Old Bay/Cajun Seasoning
3. Coat the corn in your choice of starch.
There are many different types of starch you can use. I personally used cornstarch but potato starch, rice flour and arrowroot powder work fine too! I’ve never used arrowroot powder before but a lot of my followers have recommended it.
I also advise against using flour because cornstarch (and other starches) absorbs moisture from the food better creating a crispy crust to deep-fried foods!
When I originally created this recipe, I eyeballed all the ingredients. I used just enough cornstarch to make sure each kernel of corn was coated. You want to add just enough starch to the point where each corn kernel is coated but not too much where there is extra starch left.
4. Fry the corn over medium low heat.
I used vegetable oil as my frying oil but you can use whatever frying oil you like best. Popular frying oils include Vegetable Oil, Peanut Oil, Corn Oil, or Canola Oil. Do not use olive oil because it has a low smoke point meaning that your oil will burn faster than your food. You definitely don’t want that!
Pour about a half of an inch of oil into your pan. Heat the oil over medium low.
Pour the corn into one layer and use a spatula or spoon to press the corn together until it’s all leveled. You want to make sure the corn kernels are touching so that they don’t break apart during the frying process.
Fry the corn for about 7 minutes over medium low heat. After 7 minutes, crank the heat up to medium high to finish frying the corn. This will take another 3-5 minutes. You’ll know it is done when it is crispy and slightly golden.
I recommend that you don’t move or adjust the corn while it’s frying or else it will come apart. However, you can move the pan gently so that it does not adhere to the bottom of the pan.
If the frying oil becomes low, you can add some more frying oil on top. You need a good amount of oil or else the top layer of the corn won’t cook.
It is very hard to try and flip these corn fritters (but you can try) because they’re so fragile and will break apart. That’s why I recommend leaving it alone.
5. Remove the corn fritter from the pan.
I recommend using a large spatula or a hand held metal strainer to remove the fritter. It is very delicate and may crumble if you’re too rough with it. It’s okay if it breaks apart as it all tastes the same 🙂
6. Eat as is or top with your choice of seasoning.
I usually eat it as is or add a little bit of powder sugar for even more sweetness.
One of my followers actually recommended that I add crema, cheese and some seasoning for an “elotes” inspired corn fritter. I tried it this way and it was absolutely delicious!
Mexican crema is a common condiment that is used as a finishing touch to Mexican dishes. It’s slightly tangy and creamy. I couldn’t find any in my supermarket so I opted for a 50/50 mayonnaise and sour cream blend.
As for the cheese, cotija cheese is commonly used in elotes however you can use Parmesan cheese as an alternative if you cannot find cotija cheese in your local market. It isn’t 100% the same but close enough!
For the seasonings, elotes are usually topped with chile powder and lime. I had Tajin on hand so I used that! Tajin is a seasoning blend made of dried mild red chile peppers, dehydrated lime juice, and sea salt. Super delicious!
However you enjoy your corn fritter, I bet it’ll be delicious!
Tips and Tricks:
Do use sweet corn.
Do drain the corn and ensure there is no remaining corn juice.
Do completely coat each corn kernel with your choice of starch.
Do leave the corn pancake/fritter alone when frying.
Do make sure that the corn kernels are touching each other to ensure they can stick together during the frying process.
Don’t forget to drain the corn juice.
Don’t pour liquid into hot oil.
Don’t move the pancake/fritter around too much when frying.
Because I love shopping.. here are some cool corn items I found on Amazon:
Chinese Corn Pancake / Corn Fritters
- 432 grams Sweet Corn canned, fresh or frozen
- 2 tbsp Sugar any type of powdered/granulated sweetener
- 4-5 tbsp Corn Starch Potato Starch, Arrowroot Powder, or Rice Flour will work
- Frying Oil Vegetable Oil, Peanut Oil, Corn Oil, or Canola Oil
- Prepare your corn. This recipe works well with fresh, frozen or canned corn. Fresh corn will give you the best flavor though! Make sure your corn is drained and dried as you do not want to be adding corn juice into hot oil. This can cause the oil to pop and burn you!
- Season your corn. You can add whatever seasonings you want to the corn but I just added plain sugar because I just wanted extra sweetness in my corn. I advise against using any liquid sweeteners because it doesn’t mix well with cornstarch. Stick to the granulated or powder sweeteners for the best product!
- Coat the corn in your choice of starch. You want to add just enough starch where each corn kernel is coated but not too much where there is extra starch left.
- Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into your pan. Heat the oil over medium low. Pour the corn into one layer and use a spatula or spoon to press the corn kernels together until it's all leveled. You want to make sure that all the corn kernels are touching.
- Fry the corn for about 7 minutes over medium low heat. After 7 minutes, crank the heat up to medium high to finish frying the corn. This will take another 3-5 minutes. You'll know it is done when it is crispy and slightly golden.
- If the frying oil becomes low, you can add some more frying oil on top. You need a good amount of oil or else the top layer of the corn won't cook.
- Remove the corn fritter from the pan.
- Eat as is or top with your choice of seasoning.