They have chicken soup for the soul, and here we have one for our stomach.
This soup is best served when the weather is a bit cold. I don’t know how the weather is where you are but here in Bordeaux I can’t believe summer has arrived. It has been hot and cold for the last several days, one day people wear shorts and dresses and the next day coats and boots.
So I was thinking about making this cozy comforting soup made from chicken and sweet corn, especially when it’s corn season right now. This soup stands out for its clear broth, the sweetness of corn and delicate taste of chicken and the fragrance of shitake mushrooms.
1 chicken breast
3 dried shitake mushrooms, washed and soaked in warm water at least 10 minutes before cooking
2 egg whites, whisked well
3 spring onions/scallions
1 clove of garlic, minced
Half of an onion (optional)
Salt, fish sauce, black pepper, vegetable oil.
First we need to make the broth with the chicken breast. We will begin lightly: boil the chicken breast in the soup pot with only water and salt for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
While waiting for the chicken, we can prepare the corn and shitake mushrooms. In my older posts I cooked the corn with its cover and silk but this time we need to discard them in order to strip the corn meat from its core. Use a small knife for this and be careful as this may quickly become messy: Everything nearby will become dotted with yellow corn juice. You should keep the core for this soup. As for the corn silk, don’t throw it away. Instead, make it into tea to give your kidney and liver a boost. Set the corn aside for later.
Next come the shitake mushrooms. They are the star of this dish, along with corn. I don’t know if you’re familiar with these mushrooms, they are very delicious, fragrant and flavorful.
Back to our mushrooms which have been soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes. When the mushrooms are softened, wash them again. You need to wash them thoroughly and squeeze out the excess water because we will cut them into thin slices and soggy shitake mushrooms will make a mess on your cut board. To prepare the mushrooms, cut out their chewy trunk then cut the rest into thin slices and set aside.
The chicken is now cooked, take it out and let it cool down. (To prevent it to darken, you can place it in a bowl of ice water). Then put corn and its core into the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
While waiting for the corn to be cooked, we will prepare the spring onions and egg whites. Separate the heads of the spring onion (the white bulbs) from their green parts. Mince the spring onion bulbs along with garlic and set aside. Chop the green onion for garnish and whisk the egg whites. Tear the chicken breast into thin stripes. And we’re ready to assemble the dish!
In a sauce pan, heat a bit of vegetable oil and sautee the minced garlic spring onion heads for 1 minute. Your kitchen will smell a tad wonderful. Then add shitake mushrooms and sautee for 3 minutes. If you see the garlic start to burn, add a dash of water. Last but not least, add the chicken stripes and fish sauce or salt to your taste, I just love fish sauce for this soup. Pour the chicken sauteed into the pot soup and wait for the soup to boil. This is the time to taste your soup and adjust it to your liking. You can add salt or fish sauce if you want, but if you add the fish sauce, don’t add it when the soup is boiling or the fish sauce smell with stick to your whole kitchen, and that include you too.
When the soup is boiling, slowly pour in the battered egg white while stirring with a fork. The stirring action and boiling water will make the eggs white become thin stripes.
Traditionally this soup has a thick texture from corn starch. But from my experiences, not many like this version of soup, so proceed with care. If you choose to add the corn starch, stir 1 tablespoon of corn starch in a cup of water and pour it in the pot soup while the water is boiling, keep stirring the soup to distribute the starch evenly.
Serve this soup hot with spring onion and black pepper.
If you love corn and would like to discover another Vietnamese corn dish, find it here. It's a drink made with corn and milk. I got feedback from my fellow blogger that it is quite addictive, so make sure to give it a try.
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!