Sunday, February 22, 2009

Corn, Coconut, Lime and Basil Soup for Souper Sundays

Happy Souper Sunday!  I chose this week's soup from a cookbook I bought at Powell's, my favorite used bookstore, in Portland. The book, Fast and Fresh Vegan Pleasures is by Amanda Grant, a UK food editor and cookbook author. I tagged a bunch of recipes to make and this one for a Thai-inspired soup using corn cobs for the stock, sounded especially delicious. I was able to grab some Ewa Sweet Corn at the farmer's market here, but the author says you can also use canned or frozen corn and a good vegetable stock if fresh corn is not available. I made a few changes and additions which are noted below.

Corn, Coconut, Lime and Basil Soup
Fresh & Fast Vegan Pleasures, by Amanda Grant
(Serves 4)

4 ears of corn
5 1/2 cups (2 3/4 pints) water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 shallots, sliced
1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves or zest of 1/2 lime
4 fl. ozs. canned unsweetened coconut milk
large handful of fresh basil leaves
2 limes, each cut into chunks

Scrape the kernels from the ears with a sharp knife, and put the kernels in a bowl. Set aside. Break each of the ears into 2 or 3 pieces. Put them in a large saucepan, and add 5 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. You will need to skim the foam from the top of the liquid with a large spoon, especially for the first 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.  

Heat the oil in a large clean saucepan, and add the ginger, shallots and jalapeno. Fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened. Add the kaffir lime leaves or lime zest, reserved corn stock (or the equivalent volume of vegetable stock) and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat immediately, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water, if necessary, to achieve the texture you prefer. Add the reserved kernels, and simmer for another 5 minutes. 

Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Stack about 6 basil leaves together, roll them into a cigar shape and slice thinly. Repeat with the remaining basil. Scatter the basil strips over the soup. Serve with the wedges of lime.

Each serving contains: Calories 210, Protein 5g, Fat 11g (Sat Fat 3.6g), Carbs 23g, Fiber 2.6g, Cal from fat 48%.

Cook's Notes from Amanda Grant: "I try to make soups with ingredients that provide the flavor rather than having to rely heavily on stocks. The stock for this particular recipe is made from the corn cobs leftover when the kernels have been removed. However, if fresh corn is not in season use 14 ounces of canned corn and a good vegetable stock." She also notes that if you can't find kaffir lime leaves, the fine zest of 1/2 lime will work.

Notes/Results: A great soup, full of tangy, spicy flavor. I made a couple of changes to lighten it up, lessening the amount of oil and using a lite coconut milk to reduce fat and calories by about 60%. I also like a lot of lime flavor in my soup so in addition to the kaffir lime leaves, I also added the lime zest. The author mentioned having to skim the foam off of the stock but mine never ended up with any foam, (maybe it's the Ewa corn?). Also, corn is the star of this soup, but I didn't see any reason not to give it a strong supporting cast, (It is the Oscars tonight after all!), so I added some baby spinach, (about 1 cup), and some assorted dried mushrooms (about 1/2 cup). A keeper recipe, that I will make again.

Let's see who else is in the Souper Sunday Kitchen this week:

A search for a misplaced favorite soup recipe led Christine from Kit's Chow to the uniquely named Soup of the Bakony Outlaws. Having a "thing" for interesting recipe names, Christine spent some time researching the story behind this Hungarian soup (check out the details on her site), and ended up with both a geography lesson and a delicious, creamy hearty soup.  

Kristen from Sogkonnite Living, (she recently merged this blog and her locallcfoods into one), multi-tasked by making Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup for both Tyler Florence Fridays and Souper Sundays. Overall she gave this soup a rating of "very good"; her husband, who likes spicy food loved it, Kristen was glad for the cheese and avocado to temper some of the heat and her kids were divided on the spice level. 

Re-purposing one dish into another is one of the best parts of cooking. Left with some extra pork ribs, Amanda, from Joie de Vivre turned them into a filling soup, aptly titled: Joie's Thank Goodness for Leftovers Soup or (Red Lentil, Spinach and Pork Rib Soup). Full of the chopped pork ribs, lentils, and veggies, this turned out to be a quick, easy and delicious creation. 

A house full of sick family members didn't stop Ulrike from Küchenlatein from making and posting her weekly soup. She put together a warming Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup with Thai Pesto from her kitchen pantry. Topped with a pesto of herbs and spices, like garlic, ginger, coriander, basil, mint and parsley, and with a spicy kick from the green chilies, Ulrike credits the herbs and hot spices for getting rid of the viruses.

A familiar face at TFF, but new to Souper Sundays is Donna from My Tasty Treasures who made the classic Pasta E Fagioli soup this week. Full of good things like bacon, onions, tomatoes, spices, beans, ditalini pasta and topped with grated Parmesan and olive oil, this soup will transport you to Italy. Donna calls it a "comforting soup that is out of this world delicious!"

Stephanie, from Dispensing Happiness took a break from her Blog Party hosting to contribute another soup this week; Potato-Cheddar Cheese Soup. Soup that tastes like a yummy baked potato sounds pretty darn good to me! She says the recipe "was so simple, it came together quickly and proved hearty", and she found that it really did taste like a well-loaded baked potato.

Comfort food is just the thing to warm up those cold winter days and combat the recent snow flurries in her neck of the woods for Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. She put together a Chicken Barley Stew with a Puff Pastry Lid using leftovers from a roast chicken dinner. Chock full of hearty vegetables and barley and flavored with homemade stock and white wine, Natashya says this dish is "Just like a warm hug on a cold day!" Yum!

Hot, sticky February days in Sydney make it the perfect weather for Vichyssoise. Suzie from Munch + Nibble, once won a school spelling contest for being able to spell vichyssoise, (I, on the otherhand had to keep looking it up to type this out!). Suzie used this recipe from her Tetsuya cookbook for this Cold Soup of Potato and Leek and found it easy and delicious. She also gives a great explanation of the origin of this classic chilled soup on her site and it looks so refreshing on her pretty blue and white plate and placemat.

Reeni fom Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice has a nasty cold but has not lost her appetite. Needing something soothing, flavorful and hearty, she found it in the quick and easy  Fork & Spoon Fettuccine Soup that she created. Ready to eat in about 30 minutes, and so full of chickpeas and noodles that you need both a fork and a spoon to eat it, it is also vegetarian- friendly, using a vegetable broth as it's base. Hopefully this soup will fix her right up and have her feeling better soon!

Hot, cold, some with meat, some vegetarian, soup with puff pastry, a soup you need a fork for; quite a variety of delicious and creative soups again this week! Thanks to everyone who participated. Take some time to visit all their blogs and get more details, photos and recipes for their fabulous soup creations. If you want to share a soup, click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar to get all the details.

Have a great week!  


  1. Comfort is definitely the theme this week! Great variety, lots of good spice. (and some really pretty serveware!)
    This Canadian chick seems to be the only one not to catch a cold this year.. weird. (of course, now that I have said that..)

  2. I love Thai flavours, and have seen some cooks make the cob stock - will definitely give it a try in corn season.. and I really miss corn season!

  3. Your soup looks wonderful - I am always open to anything with kaffir lime in it. Thanks again for another great line-up.

  4. Your soup looks great, wonderful flavors! I would love a bowl! Another really great round-up of delicious, comforting soups.

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  6. No corn season in Germany, we grow corn for animals only.

    As always a wonderful collection of soup. Thanks for putting it together week after week

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  7. I am loving all of the soups!!

  8. Oh wow, what an interesting bunch of flavors, this sounds and looks delicious! Your used book store sounds wonderful, it's been ages since I've had time to go browse through one of those, what a fun afternoon :)

  9. Great roundup! Your soup has all the flavors I love, I've bookmarked it, ready for corn season!

  10. All that looks absolutely wonderful. Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods.

    Thanks for the great roundup for Cook the Books. I am looking forwrad to the next one.


  11. I love Thai food and your corn soup is perfect. We used to be given corn water, the outer leaves were stripped and the corn was boiled for a long time, silk and all. We drank the liquid. I can't remember what this was supposed to help but it was considered a tonic.


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