So for those of you who don’t know, Rachel Ray is the Food Network cook that created a buzz in America around 30 minute meals. She’s perky, she’s cute and she puts together meals in “ just under thirty minutes” with an effervescent smile and words like EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) and stoup (pronounced stewp). According to Rachel, a stoup is thicker than a soup but not quite a stew. Huh? Okay I can't pretend to understand what that means.
If ever there was an example of lost in translation it might this. A Trinidadian might be left scratching his head in bemusement if any one served him a stoup (pronounced steup) because however you spell it-steups, stoups or stewps is the vernacular to describe annoyance or disapproval.
This is something that I need to curb my enthusiasm for doing since my son is starting to mimic this gesture. Jamaicans call this kissing teeth. Yes, it is an impolite expression but it's so emphatic and powerfully dismissive that. I dare you to find me something that is as invincible as a steups.
In the bank, at the supermarket or the movies you will find that queuing is a concept which is lost on Trinidadians. If you don't look sharp, a Trinidadian will pretend that you are invisible and step in front of you in a line. A well timed steups, coupled with a cut-eye can stop a line breaker dead in his tracks.
Steups,( without cut-eye, cause I really do like her ) is exactly what I did one tired evening when Rachel invaded my living room with her 30 minute spiel. I looked around at the chaos that was my own kitchen and thought, just once I would love to see her attempt to make a meal in 30 minutes with a toddler attached to each leg, while 2 other kids duke it out in the living room over whose turn it is to dominate the TV remote.
All kidding aside, I do appreciate Rachel's message that there are meals one can quickly throw together without sacrificing taste and without resorting to purchasing junk food.
Cooking takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Yet, some days lets face it, you wish for more hours in the day. Some days the last thing you feel like doing is spending an hour or two cooking. Some days you just need a moment ....to think....to breathe...just to be.
This is a soup that I make on those days when I don't know whether I am coming or going. Hmm that's a lot of soup. Lol. Pinky promise, it takes maybe 10 minutes to prepare once you've done it a few times or 15 if you have to wrangle kids while cooking. You can buy a version of this at any Chinese restaurant across the country but once I discovered how easy it was to make there was no looking back. Truly, you will spend a longer time in the line waiting for your soup in a Chinese restaurant than just making it at home.
The recipe calls for pre-cooked chicken. So when I make roasted chicken I usually use the left overs to make this soup the following day. If you wish, you could omit the chicken or also boil a chicken thigh or breast in some salted water with a little black pepper and cut it up for this recipe but that increases the cooking time.
Yes I know that I recently blogged about another corn soup but that one has a completely different taste and it takes almost an hour to cook. This soup here is super quick and you can toss in a heap of whatever vegetables that you might have at the time. Just remember to put the longest cooking veggies into the pot first.
Chinese-style Corn SoupServes 4-6
6 cups chicken stock (low sodium) *depending on your tastes you may substitute half stock with water.
1 can cream style corn (15oz)
1 can corn kernels (15oz)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tsp of sesame oil.
1 large cooked chicken breast or two thighs de-boned and cubed
1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups pak choi or choi sam ( ribbon shreds)
1 large egg beaten
2 stalks chives ( finely sliced)
salt to taste
- Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the creamed style corn and the corn kernels
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and cornflour to make a smooth paste. Then stir this paste into the soup to thicken slightly.
- Add the sesame oil
- Add the chicken
- Add the mushrooms
- Toss in pak choi or choi sam.
- Season with salt to taste (Because the soy sauce is very salty I never add additional salt)
- Bring the soup back up to a rolling boil.
- Pour the beaten egg in a very slow stream. Turn off the heat the minute you begin pouring in the egg. Stir rapidly with a fork as soon as you start pouring in the egg. Stir for about one minute.
- Serve soup topped with chopped chive and hot pows (bao)on the side.