Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chinese-style Chicken Corn Soup

chinese corn soup

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 Corn Soup

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

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the chicken
  3. Add the creamed style corn  and the corn kernels
  4. Add the sesame oil
  5. Add the mushrooms
  6. Toss in pak choi or choi sum.
  7. 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.
  8. Season with salt to taste 
  9. Bring the soup back up to a rolling boil.
  10. 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.
  11. Serve soup topped with chopped chive and hot pows (bao)on the side.



  1. lovely colour in your photos as usual :-) Somehow I have always preferred vegetarian soups.

  2. Yum yum. Just what I needed to get over the flu. - D

  3. The corn soup looks so amazing and hearty. I'm not crazy about Rachel Ray, but this dish looks great.

  4. I heard about Rachel’s show and flipped through her cookbook a couples of time. Is it fun to watch?

    I like this recipe! This is the kind of soup that I grew up with so I love, love them. Still making it a lot these days.

  5. Chennete - This can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock and omitting the chicken. I think the eggs give this soup it's characteristic flavour. Can you have eggs? What 'level' of vegetarian are you?

    D-Still sick oooh poor dearie. I'll be right over with soup:-)

    Memória- This is my recipe not Rachel's :-)I like the concept behind the show and I think she is light- hearted and fun.

    Anh- She is fun and easy going. I like that she is not pretentious. I have never tried any of her recipes though. Yes I think you will know a lot about soups like this. I just love that they are so versatile and quick.

  6. Oooh, we have a similar soup in india, they call it sweet corn chicken soup. i like your idea of adding more veggies to it. Personally, i like to omit the egg.
    Rachel is oh-uhm-just so-so in my books, I used to like her a lot, then I suddenly got tired of her enthusiasm. But I'll take her show anyday over that god-awful Sandra Lee semi-homemade!
    You take amazing pics!

  7. oh this brings back memories! my mother used to make a soup very similar to this. it was a favorite. Rachel Ray is not my favorite LOL! but this does look good!

  8. I wonder if "steups-ing" (is that a word) can be found on YouTube? I so want to know how to do it now, sounds like a useful skill to have :) And I completely understand what you mean about the chaos factor, I like to think of it as "extreme" cooking - run through obstacle course(mess) in lounge room, fend off assault by cranky toddler then try to get food on table before being eaten alive by hungry children:

    Seriously though, this soup looks fantastic and yes, agree with above comment, you take fabulous photos!

  9. Hahaha hysterical hysterical post! If there is one thing that drives me crazy, it's stcheuping (or however it is spelled). Trinis do this more than anyone, I am convinced! This dish is nothing to schteup about, though! Gorgeous!

  10. Yum!! What other vieggies would you add? Carrots? Christophene?

  11. Dee- actually you caught my missing ingredient. The photo shows carrots but I forgot to list it. So yes, good add in. Yes, to the cho-cho. I've also done this with broccoli, snow peas, regular sweet peas are good too.

    Teanna - Steups or cheups. It why we don't go all postal on anyone. All that pent up rage is not good. Release your stress with a good steups girl LOL I will try to give it up for Lent:-)

    Shaz - HaHa extreme cooking:-) So you think one day it might be recognised as an Olympic event and we'll be given a gold medals? LOL I can't teach you to steups - Teanna would never forgive me:-)

    Ann thanks for the compliment - you are too kind

  12. This soup sounds great esp. on this cold, windy day! My husband calls it "sucking your teeth"..he now officially has our 5 year old son and 8 year old daughter doing it whenever they are annoyed...occasionally I find my self doing it. lol

  13. Love that bowl of soup. Looks super nutritious, fresh and tasty. Send me some please?

  14. There's that strong voice =)

    I was grinning at this story, and I love your recipe - looks like a winner and pinky swear only 10 minutes to make. You're talking my language.

  15. Your post made me laugh! I can totally relate to the hectic cooking with two young kids around. But if you serve them this beautiful soup (because I call it a soup!), one day, they'll remember how great you fed them!

  16. That corn soup looks delicious and one I will certainly adopt and tweak a bit of course! I chuckled reading about what trinidadians(?) would do in a queue; sounds like lebanese! who don't respect queues or anything that has a set of rules along with it!

  17. Love your pictures..soup looks very inviting!

  18. I'm yet to see a Rachel Ray show.
    As for the soup ... love it :)

  19. Hi, love your blog, and especially your style of the food shot! bright and fresh, makes the food looks very enticing!

  20. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. It is a pleasure to discover yours and I look forward to exploring and visiting. Your soup looks delicious.

  21. Love this soup. Just the thing I love to make for myself. I am liking this blog a lot too. You really bring a lot of personality to everything here! GREG

  22. Oh Wizz, this looks like just the thing for us tonight. It's supposed to snow AGAIN. I'm tired of being cold! I'd love to learn to steups too. It sounds like a useful skill. Maybe you could post a tutorial?

  23. A 10 minute soup on a weekday is a fantastic thing indeed. Winter is coming up and I can imagine I'll be making many a soup, this one included!

  24. Looks lovely and seems pretty straight forward to make. any soup with pak choi is a friend of mine.

    happy cooking


  25. One of my favorite soups and I never get tired of this. So beautiful.

  26. Whenever I visit Chinese restaurants I always order corn soup. I love how the eggs is dropped through a sieve to create ribbons.

  27. This soup looks fabulous, wish I had a bowl right now!

  28. yeah, too much rachael ray is not a good thing in any way, shape, or form, but she has her moments. everything in moderation, right? great soup. :)

  29. I don't care it's soup or stoup! The only thing I know is your soup looks darn delicious!