Short cut Chinese sweet corn soup
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In every other street corner of India, with the Paav Bhaji, Sandwich & Dosa vendors, you will, and must see the Chinese food street vendor. Now don’t go thinking this will be like the real Chinese food you once had at an authentic Chinese restaurant and hated the smell of. This, is what Indians have named Indian-Chinese. Just like Jain Pizza, Vegetarian Burgers and Indian Chai, each of which morphed from a different, original form of preparation, Indian Chinese is our very own brand of Chinese food that is so uniquely Indian, I think it’s far from being anywhere in resemblance to the authentic Chinese food!
It all began in the 18th century when people from China started immigrating to India, to pursue work at the Calcutta (now Kolkata) port (Yes, India has immigrants too!). Generations later, descendants of these first Chinese settlers are a notable part of the Indian population. What was first prepared by Chinese families at their home, got sold by street vendors first in Kolkata, and now, is a delicious street food meal in major Metros in India.
As a child, my mother would come up with inventive ways to replicate restaurant-quality food at home. By then, Indian Chinese became a common section in major restaurants’ menus. I remember how she made Chinese sweet corn soup, using multiple time-consuming steps including grinding the raw corn kernels at home, using chicken stock made from scratch, and even improvising on the sauces and spices used. I came up with this shorter recipe for the spicy, tangy soup, which takes just 15 minutes to make, all in one pot.
You will need:
- 1 can of cream style sweet corn soup
- 1 can of chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 finely chopped sticks of green onions
- 5 to 6 sliced button mushrooms
- 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- ½ tbsp of finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp of canola oil
- ½ tbsp of chili oil (optional)
- 1 egg beaten (optional if you are making a vegetarian soup)
- 1 tbsp of corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp of water
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of white vinegar
- ¼ tsp of black pepper
- ¼ tsp of red chili flakes (optional)
- Salt to taste
- In a medium size cooking pot add the canola oil and chili oil.
- When the oil is lukewarm, add garlic, ginger, green onions and mushroom. Saute for about 2 minutes until the mushrooms are 50% cooked through. They will cook more as the soup cooks, so leave them a little uncooked.
- Then add the can of chicken or vegetable broth. When the broth begins to simmer, add the vinegar and soy sauce.
- Then add the sweet corn, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well and let it come to a boil.
- Through a fork add the beaten egg, this will cook the egg in the soup and will look like white ribbons! This is the most important part of the soup and adds a lot of flavor.
- Finally add the corn starch to thicken the soup. Taste and add salt if necessary or you could also add more soy sauce. Garnish with some chopped green onions.
Serve hot with a side of Chinese pot stickers or fried rice!