Sweetcorn and Ginger Soup

Sweetcorn soup with crab or chicken has become a very popular dish in many Chinese restaurants in the West. It is not truly Chinese but rather reflects a blend of Eastern and Western traditions. Here is my version of the soup, a lighter vegetarian one that contains the zest of fresh ginger to enliven it. I prefer to use fresh sweetcorn, as I find the starch used in the tinned variety tends to make the soup heavy. The milk in the recipe is definitely borrowed from the Western tradition; for a richer taste, use cream. This is an elegant starter for any dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 750 g ( lb) fresh sweetcorn on the cob, or 425 g (15 oz) tinned sweetcorn kernels
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions

Method

If you are using fresh sweetcorn, remove the kernels with a sharp knife or cleaver — you should end up with about 425 g (15 oz.. Mix the egg and sesame oil together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a large pan until moderately hot. Add the oil and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the corn, egg mixture and spring onions. Bring the mixture to the boil and add the corn. Simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, and then allow it to cool slightly.

Purée the soup in a blender or food mill until light and creamy. Return the soup to the pan and bring to a slow simmer. Add the egg mixture, stirring all the time. For serving, transfer the soup to a tureen or individual bowls and garnish with the spring onions.