For the first of our cookery school Chinese Masterclass recipes, I am giving you a personal favourite of mine, a classic Chinese recipe, Crab and Sweetcorn Soup. This soup is found in Chinese restaurants in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and some Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. 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 which you can make yourself, 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 body to the finished soup.
Cantonese Crab and Sweetcorn Soup serves 4
500 ml good quality Fish or Chicken Stock
300 gr cooked Sweetcorn Nibs
100 gr picked White Crab Meat
100 gr Brown Crab Meat, mashed with a fork
A small bunch of Spring Onions, finely shredded
75 ml Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
1 free-range Egg White
40 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 )
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 cook for five minutes before adding the crab and spring onions. Using a fork or two chopsticks beat the egg white in a small bowl. Stirring the soup with the fork or chopsticks slowly pour in the egg white in a thin stream. Gently heat for a further couple of minutes to thoroughly warm the crab, then correct seasoning with the fish sauce and lemon, add the coriander and serve.