For green paste
1 fresh hot green chile, stemmed and cut in half
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
12 fresh or 16 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
¼ cup fresh cilantro sprigs (with tender stems only)
2 tablespoons water
For the main dish
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons canola oil
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
3 whole dried red chiles
¼ teaspoon turmeric
6 fresh or 10 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
1⁄8 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 ears) or frozen corn
For the green paste, combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor, and process into a paste. Set aside. Combine the milk and the half-and-half in a 2 cup measure or small bowl. Combine the oil, cumin, and mustard seeds, if using, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover if using mustard seeds (they pop and splatter), and cook until the cumin turns golden brown or you heat the mustard seeds crackle, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chiles, turmeric, curry leaves, and asafetida (if using) and stir. (Stand back if using curry leaves; they spit when they hit the oil.) Immediately add the green paste, and turn the heat down to low. Then cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add the flour, and cook, stirring, 1 more minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the flour from sticking. Gradually add the milk mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time at first, to make a smooth paste. Start to add the milk more quickly, adding the final cup all at once. Stir in the salt and the corn, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Taste for salt, and serve hot.
© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran