Chinese No-Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup

Thursday, September 08, 2011

food painting for the vegetarian cookbook by Fiona Morgan
Light. Satisfying. Easy. Moreish.


Food painting artwork

30 x 30cm acrylic on Saunders Waterford 100% cotton archival paper.

Another abstract exploration, this time it's my more usual fascination with combining colour, texture and pattern. This painting explores some of the transparent techniques of watercolour and is ruled by the essential corn kernals, the colours of the actual soup and the  tendrilly patterns of the egg in the broth.

Did you know that all the food painting artwork is available to own in the Official Art Store?  If you want to get your mitts on the original, mailing list subscribers get first dibs on new artwork. Yellow box top left.


The meatless meals recipe

A lifetime ago when I still ate meat, my super-favourite-must-have in every visit to a Chinese restaurant was Chinese Chicken and Sweetcorn soup (when I eventually discovered Hot and Sour soup there was decision chaos but that's another story). Some dishes just hit the spot every time. Obviously in this lifetime that dish has been off my menu. I finally got around to figuring out how to make a vegetarian version that is the equal in tastebud satisfaction, no fowl tactics required. This is it.

At least 20g dried shiitake mushroom (don't trust what the weight on the packet says, measure it yourself. I've been caught out, and not quite enough of this ingredient makes for a washed out soup)
1.8L water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups corn kernals (2-3 cobs of corn), either whole (good) or partly crushed/blended (great)
2 large pinches ground white pepper
4 tablespoons dry or medium dry sherry
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 beaten eggs
2 spring onions, chopped fine
up to 1 tablespoon sugar to taste, depending on the sweetness of the corn

Gently simmer together the water, dried shiitake mushroom, corn kernals and salt for at least 30 minutes. Be careful, if this is boiling it tends to boil over. Simmer gently.
Add pepper, sherry and sesame oil. Bring back to a simmer.
Mix the cornflour with just enough cold water to form a paste. Add this in a thin stream to the soup, stirring constantly. This will thicken the soup. If the cornflour is added slowly enough and the stirring is constant enough, lumps will be avoided.
When the soup has thickened, remove from the heat.
Stir in the beaten egg in a thin stream. It will cook instantly.
Sprinkle with spring onion.
Taste for sweetness. Sometimes the corn lacks sweetness if it is not at the height of it's season. If a pinch of sugar added to the pot improves/intensifies the taste, then cautiously add sugar until you are satisfied with the balance of flavour.

This makes enough soup for 4.


More vegetarian cookbook goodies

Need help with cooking conversions? Download this handy dandy pdf of cooking conversion charts for every cooking measuring system I could find. It should make your life easier.

Where are the rest of the vegetarian dinner recipes? They're all in the Table of Contents.

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