Chinese corn soup uses sweet corn in generally 2 ways. A simmered soup will usually use corn with the cob while thickened soups tend to use loose corn kernels.
Sweet corn is high in sugar and therefore has a short shelf-life. It must be eaten fresh or should be quickly canned or frozen for storage.
My appreciation of sweet corn came pretty late in life. Perhaps it has to do with how it was first presented to me. Over-steamed (is there such a word?) and served in a paper cup. Anyway, I know they can be added to soups to provide more nutrients and (more importantly) more crunch, so I have warmed up to them.
Speaking of nutrition, according to scientists from Cornell university, when sweet corn is cooked, it releases a phenolic compound called ferulic acid. This is a well-known anti-oxidant which bind to cell walls and insoluble fibers. All the more reason to add corn to soups.
Idea 1. Corn Kernels and Thickened Soups
Corn chowder is a famous creamy and thick soup made with corn and cream or milk.
The Chinese thickened corn soup resembles corn chowder except it doesn't use cream or milk to thicken the soup.
The Chinese prefers to thicken soup with starchy powders made from grains or tubers. For example, cornstarch, potato starch, sweet potato starch or arrowroot. It is lighter and less fattening.
The nice thing about corn is that it lends itself to creaminess easily because it can be pureed. A modern short-cut is to use cream corn in a can. :)
Ingredients commonly paired with corn in Chinese thickened soups are eggs, chicken and crab. Check out the corn egg drop recipe below.
Give the soup a few quick gentle stirs to spread out the egg flowers
Remove from heat
Serve with pepper
Idea 2. Corn on the Cob and Simmered Soups
Corn on the cob is commonly paired with pork ribs and chicken carcass to make simmered soups. Carrot, onion, and mushrooms are complementary ingredients. Your soup won't go wrong if you add 1 corn, 1 carrot, and 1 onion to either chicken or pork ribs.
Chinese herbs like goji berries and red dates are also compatible. Both can make the soup sweeter.
This is a very simple sweet corn soup recipe with only 2 key ingredients: sweet corn and pork ribs. If you are new to Chinese soups, this is a good recipe to start with. Although this is a broth it can be quite filling especially if you chomp on the corn.
The instruction calls for a thermal cooking pot. The cooking time is about 4 hours. A normal soup pot on the stove or a crock pot can also be used if you don't have the thermal cooking pot.
1 kg pork ribs
3 ears sweet corn
10 cups pork soup stock
Salt and pepper
Parboil the pork ribs with the ginger, trim off any excess fats
Wash the sweet corn and cut into big pieces
Add the soup stock, pork ribs and sweet corn into the inner pot of the thermal pot
Bring to a boil
Lower to medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes
Cover the pot and remove from heat
Place the inner pot into the outer pot, seal and leave it to cook for 4 hours
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving
Recipe 3. Sweet corn soup with fresh coconut and chicken
This is a refreshing soup using fresh coconut flesh, fresh chicken and corn on the cob. It is a nourishing broth suitable for a hot and heaty summer.
1 small chicken
flesh of 1 fresh coconut
1 corn on the cob
2 slices of ginger
10 cups or 2 litres of water
Clean the chicken and cut into smaller pieces
Parboil the chicken pieces
Cut the coconut flesh into strips
Cut the corn into several sections
Bring the water to a boil in a pot
Add the chicken, coconut strips, corn pieces and ginger
Bring back to a boil and cook for 20 minutes
Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours
Bring to a boil and add salt before serving
Apart from the first recipe, the other 2 are broths, which makes Chinese corn soups quite different from Western chowders.
The sweetness of corn in a broth enhances the appetite usually during the sweltering summer heat.
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