'Chilly temperatures will begin to bite next week' screams an online newspaper headline this morning. After a few days of the most glorious autumn weather, I suppose the rain and cooler temperatures had to follow, but I'm disappointed nonetheless.
As it happens, soup has been back on the dinner menu at my place over the last few months — with LPR, a light soup is all that my system can tolerate for the evening meal. So, I've been developing some fresh new soup recipes, as well as digging out old favourites. One of those is Charmaine Solomon's chicken velvet and sweet corn soup, or Gay Lim Took Mi Gai Tong, from The Complete Asian Cookbook. 'Chicken velvet', Charmaine explains, 'is the name given to a purée made from chicken meat and egg white', which is cooked off lightly in the delicately-flavoured sweet corn soup.
Chicken and sweet corn soup has long been a favourite and I love the simplicity and deliciousness of this recipe by the doyenne of Asian cooking, who was a regular guest at my former cooking school. One change I've made to the recipe is that I have added a small knob of fresh ginger to the broth as it cooks. And I used my wonder machine, the Tefal Cuisine Companion, to chop the chicken tenderloins to almost mince stage (see my image). Note, I say 'almost mince'. Please don't take the mincing or chopping too far, as it's good to have some 'texture' in the meat. Oh, I also left out the finely chopped smoked ham, as a garnish, as I prefer to simply garnish the soup with finely sliced spring onions. (Note to self, ignore my Peter's complaints that the greenery tastes like grass clippings... how would he know?!).
CHICKEN VELVET AND SWEET CORN SOUP
(Gay Lim Sook Mi Gai Tong)
250g free-range chicken tenderloins or 1 large free-range chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cold water
5 cups good chicken stock
a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled
11/2 tablespoons maize cornflour
1 tablespoon cold water, extra
310g can of creamed corn
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions, for garnish
First make the 'chicken velvet'. You can do this using a sharp knife, chopping the chicken into small, fine pieces. Or use a food processor, taking care not to 'mince' the meat. (In the Tefal Cuisine Companion, use the ultra blade on setting 12 for just 10 seconds). Now, place the chicken into a Pyrex bowl, sprinkle with the two tablespoons of cold water, then add the egg whites and mix well to combine. Refrigerate while you make the broth.
Pour the chicken stock into a medium sized saucepan with the knob of ginger and bring it to the boil. Combine the cornflour with the one tablespoon of cold water and mix to a smooth paste. Add this to the simmering stock with the can of creamed corn, and stir until the soup thickens. Add the chicken velvet, the sesame oil, the rice wine and the white pepper. Stir, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes. Check for seasoning. Serve the soup immediately, garnished with the sliced spring onion. Serves 4.
Tell me dear readers and fellow cooks, has the weather changed markedly in your neck of the woods? And do you hate chopped herbs (a.k.a. 'greenery') as a garnish as much as my man does? Do please tell! Ü
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.