Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asian Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup

This is pretty much verbatim from an Aarti Sequeira recipe. I've had really good luck with her recipes and I love the way she blends Indian and Western flavors together. I've probably made 10 of her recipes and this is my favorite. While it's not typical of her style of cooking, it's a really great recipe, bordering on my favorite soup, period. It's one of those recipes that I think about after I eat it and have it for lunch (or breakfast) the next day without fail.

Since she has you essentially make your own stock in the beginning of the recipe, you can make this soup in as fast as an hour and a half, or you can let it go most of the day. Since I normally have some time to kill, I usually let this go for a few hours to get the most possible flavor out of the stock, but it is totally do-able in the sub 2 hour range. 

Prep time is minimal and the most tedious part is shredding the chicken and straining the soup, which isn't hard at all, so this soup is both delicious and hardly a pain in the butt.

Asian Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup

1 leek, sliced in half and in chunks
2-3 carrots, chopped in chunks
3-inch hunk fresh ginger, split in half (no need to peel)
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 chicken breasts on the bone, with skin (or sub 4 chicken thighs, bone in)
3 (14-ounce) cans creamed-style corn
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1.5 Tbl finely chopped ginger
1.5 Tbl finely chopped garlic
4 scallions, chopped finely, white and green parts (reserve some green for final garnish)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
2 egg whites
1 Tbl rice vinegar (more for serving)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soy sauce, for serving


Get a pot and fill it with 10 cups of water. Set the heat to high.

Toss in a few carrots. I used 4 small ones. No need to peel them, but I did scrub them under water real quick.

Cut up and toss in your leek. Be sure to check for dirt and rinse it if it's dirty. This one was surprisingly clean.

Cut off a 3" nub of ginger and cut it in half. No need to peel the ginger either. Toss it in the pot.

The recipe calls for coriander seeds and black peppercorns. I am out of peppercorns, so I just used cracked pepper. 

Yes, I use a square of paper towel for my spice bag. Yes, it works really well. Toss it in the pot.

Grab 2 bone-in chicken breasts. As mentioned above, you can sub 4 chicken thighs for this and it's also very good. Of course you can do 1 breast and 2 thighs as well, whatever you have so long as they're on the bone.

I usually freeze mine, so I just toss them in straight from the freezer.

Cover and let this come to a boil. When it does, drop the heat to a simmer and wait for the chicken to cook.

While you wait, just prep the other ingredients quickly.

Get an equal amount of ginger and garlic to equal 3 tablespoons total. 

Mince them together as finely as you can. This is going to be in the actual soup so get it as finely as you can. Set them aside for later. 

Once your chicken is cooked all the way through (mine took about an hour since they were frozen, but if thawed, should only take 30 minutes. Check with a thermometer (165 degrees) if you're unsure.)

Remove the chicken when cooked and remove the bones from the meat. I toss the bones back in the pot to give it some more time to get the chicken flava from them, but you can discard them now just as well.

Let your chicken cool and shred it. Put it aside until the end.

When your soup is as saturated with flavor as you want it to be, go ahead and start to strain it. 

I squeeze the solids to get all the juices out.

You can let it go with one strain, but you know me, I'm a bit anal when it comes to straining soups, so I did it another time through cheesecloth (instead of paper towels as I wanted to see the difference - cheese cloth worked pretty well.)

Put the broth back on high heat and get your next round of ingredients together.

Toss the creamed corn, scallions, ginger/garlic, bouillon cubes and a teaspoon of sesame oil in the soup. Let it come back up to a boil. 

Mix up a 1/4 cup of cornstarch with a 1/4 cup of water. 

Drizzle it into the boiling soup. 

It'll thicken up nicely and give the soup that "shiny" texture.

Turn the heat back down to medium and whisk 2 egg whites along with maybe a tablespoon of water. 

Stir the soup pretty fast to get some momentum going and then drizzle the egg whites into the soup. It'll give you a neat wispy effect. 

Wispy egg whites
Add your chicken and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. 

Now is the time to check for salt. I like this soup on the salty side, so I'd start with a teaspoon of kosher salt then taste. Add more in 1/2-1/4 teaspoon increments until the seasoning is to your liking. 

I serve the soup with a drizzle of soy sauce and garnished with some scallions. I also have a sleeve of saltines (to my self) and the bottle of rice vinegar standing by. I really like to up the rice vinegar in this soup. I probably use another teaspoon or more in each bowl, but dial that in to your liking.


1 comment:

  1. just made these with just simply sweetcorn no extras fantastic with chips and beans relived a childhood memory not had them for 20 yrs


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