As the Chinese New Year approaches, I thought for my next classic Chinese recipe it would be nice to marry my love of Chinese food with some of the amazing produce available here in the Channel Islands. What better ingredient to use than fresh local crab, indulgent perhaps, but this recipe uses brown and white meat to really get an intense flavour. So just as every Chinese restaurant has a version of sweet and sour, a great many have their own version of this Cantonese dish on the menu, today’s recipe, Crab and Sweetcorn Soup.
It is best to view most authentic Chinese soups as highly flavoured, aromatic broths and it is important to note that in Chinese kitchens they take as much care in their cooking as we in western kitchens devote to good stocks and much-celebrated consommés. This does not mean however that this is a complicated or indeed difficult dish. In fact, this is an incredibly easy recipe resulting in a fantastically tasty soup using brilliant local seafood. Enjoy.
The recipe calls for a fish or chicken stock the making of which I will cover in a future post. You can however achieve excellent results with a good quality stock purchased from your local Deli or supermarket, try to source one that is jelly like in consistency as this will add to the fished soup.
Cantonese Crab and Sweetcorn Soup serves 4
500 ml good quality Fish or Chicken Stock
100 gr cooked Sweetcorn Nibs
100 gr picked White Crab Meat
100 gr Brown Crab Meat, mashed with a fork
1 small Red Pepper, very finely sliced
A small bunch of Spring Onions, finely shredded
75 ml Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
20 gr Ginger, peeled weight, cut into very fine strips or finely grated
2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
½ small Red Chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced ( optional )
1 Star Anise pod
Juice of one fresh Lemon
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Place the stock, sherry, soy, star anise, garlic, chilli and ginger into a medium sized, heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and very gently simmer for at twenty minutes. This will allow the aromatic flavours to infuse into the stock. Do not simmer longer as the stock may go bitter.
Remove from the heat and strain. Return to the pan, bring back to a simmer and thicken with the cornflour mixed with a little water. Add the sweetcorn and peppers and cook for five minutes before adding the crab and spring onions. Heat for a further couple of minutes to thoroughly warm the crab, correct seasoning with the fish sauce and lemon, add the coriander and serve.