Chinese Velvet Chicken and Corn Soup
This dish will get you a lot of ‘whoa dudes’ and it’s relatively easy to make thanks to a couple of off-the shelf ingredients. It just takes a little more time then the usual BF recipe. It also helps to know a couple of secrets about Chinese cooking (literally a couple or two) and the proper way to put cornstarch in soup so that you don’t wind up with starch balls (not the medical condition one might assume).
What you’ll need:
- 2 cans of chicken broth (College Inn recommended)
- 2 cans of creamed corn (Any brand will do)
- Chicken fillets
- 1/2 can of water chestnuts (whole or sliced)
- 2 eggs (whites only)
- Chinese Five Spice powder
- Ground pepper
- Cooking Sherry
- Garlic Salt (for chicken only)
- Corn Starch
- Sesame oil
Broil chicken fillets seasoned with garlic salt, but be careful not to overcook. Fillets should be cooked through but not browned. Cut fillets into small squares and place in a bowl
Finely chop one half a can of water chestnuts and put aside in a small bowl
Remove yolks from eggs, beat eggs whites with a fork and place in a small bowl
Add two to three heaping tablespoons of cornstarch to a small bowl.
Put both cans of broth and creamed corn in a large pot. Add diced fillets, chopped water chestnuts, and season with Five Spice (careful, a little goes a long way), pepper, a couple of capfuls of cooking sherry*, and slowly bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Since there are no rules for how much seasoning to use, taste as you go and add as you see fit. You should be able to taste the Five Spice, but do not let it overwhelm the flavor of the soup.
You may have noticed that there’s no mention of the sesame oil, eggs, and cornstarch. That’s because you don’t add them until the very end. Here’s how it’s done.
Once the soup has boiled, add water to the cornstarch until you have a smooth mixture. Turn off the heat and very slowly pour the water-cornstarch mixture into the soup as you stir vigorously. This will prevent the cornstarch from coagulating into cornstarch balls. If you want the soup thicker, use more cornstarch.
Once the soup is thickened, you’re going to add the egg whites. Here’s Chinese cooking secret number one: Take your fork, make a whirlpool in the center of the soup, and slowly pour the egg whites directly onto the tines of the fork as you stir vigorously. This will turn the egg whites into the fine white streams.
You’re nearly there.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls . . . but wait you say, what about the sesame oil? That’s Chinese cooking secret number two: Put a few drops of sesame into each serving. It’s the strong fragrance of sesame oil that creates the illusion of flavor. Cooking the sesame oil in the soup kills the fragrance and the flavor. Also, since this recipe makes a lot of soup, put a few drops of sesame oil into the soup you’re putting away.
Eh voila, Chinese Velvet Chicken and Corn Soup. For a special flavor bonus, Italian or French bread with butter dipped into the soup tastes wonderful.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with amounts of chicken, water chestnuts, and seasonings, to customize the corn soup to your specific tastes. As long as you stick with the soup:cream corn balance, you should be fine.
*Some say it’s better to use sherry that you would drink – in that case, use dry sherry
Do-It-Yourself Corn Soup Kit
Sweet Corn Cream Style
Chicken Tenderloins — Boneless & Skinless
Whole Water Chestnuts
Chinese Style Five Spice
Pure Sesame Oil
Sherry Cooking Wine
100% Pure Corn Starch