Aug 28, 2015

Sweet Corn Soup with Japanese Fish Cakes

Sweet Corn from Kumu Farms on Moloka'i
Summertime is time for corn-on-the-cob. Every summer here on Moloka'i, we buy two or three dozen ears of sweet corn from the Lions Club. We remove the husks and blanch the corn for three minutes in boiling, salted water. After the ears have cooled, we cut the corn off the cobs and put the kernels in ziplock freezer bags and freeze it for later use, when sweet corn is no longer available. 

This Japanese inspired Sweet Corn Soup is a delicious way to use summer corn-off-the-cob anytime of year. If fresh corn is not available, use frozen corn.

2 fresh ears of sweet corn-on-the-cob
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced (set aside the green parts)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, very finely chopped
1 6-ounce Amano brand, Uzumaki (steamed fish cake), available in Japanese markets and
   Friendly Market here on Moloka'i, see photo below
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon rice wine (optional)
32 ounces, of chicken broth (I use the Swanson brand)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 egg plus a pinch of salt, beaten

Remove the husk and silk from the corn and discard. Stand each cob on its end on a chopping board. Cut through the sides of the cob with a sharp knife large. Tip the corn kernels and any corn milk (the milky liquid which exudes from the cobs/kernels when you cut into them) into a bowl. Set aside, reserving the stripped cobs.

Heat the chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the stripped corn cobs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. This imparts a sweet corn flavor to the stock. Discard the cobs and set the broth aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan (or wok) over a high heat. Quickly fry the white parts of the spring onion together with the chopped ginger for about 30 seconds.

Add the corn, broth and soy sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch with the water and sesame oil. Stir until smooth. Add a few splashes of the hot soup and stir to ensure there are no lumps.

Tip the cornstarch mixture back into soup, making sure that it has dissolved.

Pour the beaten egg into the soup, stirring with a fork (in a wide, whirling motion) to break up the strands as they form in the hot soup.

Adjust with seasoning. Add more soy sauce if necessary.

Uzumaki, Amano brand from Friendly Market
Click on photo to view larger
When you buy Amano brand uzumaki (steamed fish cake), it comes in the form of a stick, it tastes like crab meat and looks sort of like a red egg roll. If you are not familiar with uzumaki, you can see how I used it for garnish in another soup (click here). Slice it into 1/4" slices and add three slices to the top of each serving, then sprinkle over with chopped spring onion greens. Serve immediately. Makes 3 servings.

Note: Replace the rice wine with mirin or dry sherry. Sometimes I prefer a thinner soup; I omit the cornstarch but often add cooked cellophane noodles instead. Naturally you can add other vegetables like carrots if you like. There are many variations on this recipe, I have seen scallops or pork used instead of fish cakes, but basically this soup is about the sweet corn.

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