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Some say if corn is perfectly ripe, you don't really need to add anything – even butter – to it. But who are we kidding? I will rarely pass on butter when it comes to corn on the cob. Unless we're talking elote. The Mexican-style corn, a street food favorite, is made by slathering mayonnaise or crema (a Mexican version of creme fraiche) onto freshly cooked corn, and then piling on chili powder, cheese, salt, and a squeeze of lime juice. It had me thinking that Japanese condiments would also be a perfect addition to freshly cooked corn. Using Kewpie Mayonnaise as the glue, I experimented with adding several Japanese condiments and flavorings – a few that we carry at Umami Mart – with delicious results.

Corn is in season right now, so hit up your local farmers' market and get a few ears. Then grill, boil, or even microwave (3 minutes per ear) some cobs and give these Japanese-inspired flavors a try:

1. Kewpie Mayonnaise + Yuzu Kosho


Add a dab (or more, to taste) of zingy Yuzu Kosho – a paste made with chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt – to a blob of Kewpie Mayo and then liberally brush onto freshly cooked corn. So. Damn. Good.

2. Kewpie Mayonnaise + Shichimi Togarashi


The Shichimi Togarashi we carry at UM is hand blended by the folks at Oaktown Spice Shop, and it's so much more flavorful and fresh-tasting than any togarashi I've had before. Made with red chili pepper, sansho, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, orange zest, and nori, it's zesty, spicy, and nutty all at once. Combined with creamy Kewpie Mayo, it's a flavor explosion.

3.  Kewpie Mayonnaise (or unsalted butter) + Umami Salt


Simple, but really good. Umami Salt is also hand mixed by Oaktown Spice Shop, and is a blend of umami-filled flavorings. A little goes a long way with Umami Salt, so sprinkle sparingly on Kewpie Mayo-slathered corn and then taste. If you like it saltier, by all means, add more!

4. Kewpie Mayonnaise + Furikake


Furikake is a Japanese condiment, most often used to flavor cooked rice. Consisting of sesame seeds, nori, sugar, salt, MSG, and sometimes dried bonito or other fish, it's chock full of savory flavors that go well with both Kewpie Mayo and corn.

5. Kewpie Mayonnaise (or unsalted butter) + Miso


Add a small amount of miso paste (to taste) to a squirt of Kewpie Mayo and mix before applying onto corn for a nutty, salty, creamy dreamy flavor combo.

Of course, you can also mix-and-match any of the flavors above to find your perfect Japanese-style corn combo.

Conbini Creations is an experiment in cooking with ingredients found in the conbini, or convenience store section, of Umami Mart’s Oakland retail shop.