Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chinese Shrimp Corn Soup

This is a refreshing and satisfying soup. Cheap and quick to make.  It can be a whole meal or to compliment some other Chinese dishes.  You can substitute the shrimp with chicken and other ingredients.  I'll make some suggestions and give some tips at the end of this post.  As usual, my free form cooking style makes it hard to exactly quantify how much of each ingredient.  Once you do this soup you will be able to adjust the amounts to suit yourself.

Makes 4 large servings. Not those itty bitty bowls that you get in a Chinese restaurant.

Chinese Shrimp Corn Soup

  • 4 to 5 cups of home made chicken broth or canned. (Home made is best because it will have some of the delicious chicken fat as well as other vegetable flavors.  But canned will work as well)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (about 2 shakes from the bottle or more if you like spicy)
  • 1/2 large onion cut into 1/2 or larger dice
  • Kernels cut from 2 or 3 ears of corn (cooked or fresh)
  • 6 (or so) whole water chestnuts coarsely chopped (not a fine dice) little more that 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach (I use the bagged kind so I just grab a handful)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with a 1/4 cup of water in a  small bowl.
  • 12 large shrimp: peeled, tails removed, deveined and cut into 1/2 inch or larger pieces.  (If you have smaller shrimp you can do them whole. About a double handful if you like a lot of shrimp)
  • 2 large eggs beaten in a small bowl
  • 2 green onions finely diced, green and all
  • dash of sesame oil.
Bring the broth, onions, pepper, red pepper to a boil and simmer until the onion is tender.  If you like you can set this aside for a while to allow the red peppers to really permeate the flavor.  Taste for salt and add if needed.

Bring broth to a simmer and add the corn.  Simmer until heated through. Add the water chestnuts and spinach and simmer until heated.   Stirring constantly add the cornstarch and water mixture. Stir until the soup is thickened.  If you like a less thick soup use the minimal amount of cornstarch.

Add the shrimp and again simmer until just heated and starting to turn pink.  You don't want to boil them and make the shrimp tough.  Better underdone now because it will continue to cook.

While stirring constantly, use a chopstick to feel like a real Chinese cook, slowly drizzle in the egg.  You want it to be like threads in the soup, not clumps of scrambled eggs.  Immediately!!! remove from the heat and stir in a dash or two of sesame oil. 

Serve in bowls with the green onions sprinkled on top.  Some people like to add soy sauce at the table.  But I think that overpowers the shrimp.  A sprinkle of sesame seeds is also a nice touch

NOTES:  Corn:  Now that it is corn on the cob season you can use fresh uncooked or leftover cooked corn.  Depending on the size of the corn 2 to 3 cobs should do it.  If you are using frozen corn about a cup. Dontch just love all the 'abouts' and 'approximatelys'  .  Cooking is can't codify art.  Well, except for cakes where you do need to be precise.

Instead of shrimp and especially if you are making your own chicken broth, chop or shred up about a cup of cooked chicken meat.  I like to use about 1/2 cup frozen peas in place of the spinach when I'm using chicken.   A combination of shrimp and Lap Cheong sausages are really tasty.  Add the sausages first and let them cook and release their flavors.  Sliced mushrooms are good.

You can't go wrong or make big mistake with soup!!!! It is even better the next day when the flavors have time to party together.