Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thai-Flavored Corn & Potato Chowder with Crab for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It was a long draining week putting in lots of hours trying to make a deadline on some consulting I am doing which made me tired and grumpy. I needed a good, stomach and soul-filling bowl of soup this week to get me back on track. Finding the "Corn Lady" had parked her truck near my house again, selling local corn picked fresh that morning felt like a sign that a hearty corn soup would be perfect. I decided to take some of the elements of a corn chowder, like potatoes, rice, and milk or cream, flavor it with my favorite Thai ingredients and top it with a luxurious scoop of crab meat. The result was this gorgeous Thai-Flavored Corn & Potato Chowder with Crab.

Thai-Flavored Corn & Potato Chowder with Crab
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 6 servings)

3 medium ears of fresh corn, (or about 2 1/4 cups frozen corn)
8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth 
2 stalks lemongrass, peeled and bruised
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 (3-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, sliced into rounds
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 cup jasmine or long-grain white rice
1 1/2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch strips
2 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
fresh lime juice from 2 limes
1/2 Tbsp or to taste, sambal oelek or other red chili paste
1 can (14 oz) of lite coconut milk 
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped Thai basil, plus extra for garnish
6 oz lump crab meat for garnish
smoked paprika for garnish

If using fresh corn, cut kernels from cob with a sharp knife and set aside. Break up corn cobs and add to large heavy soup pot along with chicken stock, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, 
garlic, ginger, and curry paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until ginger is softened, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh or paper-towel-lined sieve. Discard solids and put flavored stock back in pot. Bring to a boil, stir rice and potatoes into soup, turn down heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add reserved corn kernels and snow peas and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, until about 2 minutes to blend flavors. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, stir in chopped cilantro and basil. Place chowder in shallow bowls and top with additional chopped cilantro and Thai-basil and a heaping tablespoon of crab and garnish with a pinch of smoked paprika and a sprig of Thai-basil.

Notes/Results: Oh my was this good! Just what the doctor ordered after a tiring week. There were so many layers of flavor; savory, spicy, sweet and tangy. I used a good homemade chicken stock (if you want to keep it vegetarian you can use veggie stock and omit the crab). Adding the corn cobs gave the base even more flavor so use fresh corn if you can get it. If you can't find kaffir lime or lemon grass, use the zest of a lime and lemon in the stock. I was going for a subtle kick of heat, just something at the end to let you know it was there, so used just a 1/2 Tbsp of the sambal oelek, a red chili paste. You could add a hotter chili or more chili if you want it spicier. The crab can be replaced with chicken or shrimp or stirred into the soup, but I like it as a little "extra" garnish on top--plus you don't need much of it for an impact. I just used a good quality packaged crab from the seafood/deli section. A nice filling but not too heavy chowder, it was even better the next day. I will make this again.

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

Graiziana from Erbe in Cucina is back with us this week with another wonderful creation inspired by her garden, Cheese Gazpacho with Cherry Tomatoes. Graziana says, "Gaspacho is the perfect summer soup: fresh, tasty... and cold. I like to create new gaspacho recipes, like this Cheese Gaspacho.I used one of my chilies, a Chupetinha: a Chinense like the Habanero, but with less pungency."

HeatherFeather from Lavender Blue has says, "I decided to make Pear Gazpacho. I can vividly recall the first time I ever tasted this unique soup. I was sitting outside in the backyard of my friend Vicky's beautiful farmhouse rental in the outskirts of Bonn, Germany. It was unseasonably hot, but not unbearably so, and an absolutely beautiful bright and still sunny summer evening. All of the food served was delicious, all prepared by Vicky and her husband at home. One of the stand-outs was this unusual version of the classic Spanish cold soup, gazpacho, which Vicky served in tiny shot glasses garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche and some tiny slivers of fresh basil. It was so refreshing on that hot day and so pretty and elegant."

Thinking fall is Heather from girlichef who made this golden Pumpkin Maple Soup. Heather says, "This past weekend was cool and crisp and perfect!! I had a craving to the core for some nice, autumn-y soup. I've had a lonely can of pumpkin puree in my pantry (yes, it survived my pantry-emptying extravaganza) since last fall. It wasn't hot and forceful and screaming to be used; it was cool and earthy and patiently waiting to usher itself in. Okay, taking it too far now? Try this soup out for size on your next fall-like day and then you can decide."

Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies went French this week, serving some of Julia Child's Soup a l'Oeuf, Provencale (or Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs) to go along with some gorgeous French baguettes she made. She says, "This recipe is from good ol' Julia and had two intriguing ingredients - garlic and eggs. The garlic is simmered in water with salt, herbs, and a little olive oil, and then eggs are poached in it. Beautiful. I did the recipe as printed, but, as I find her recipes a bit mild for my taste, I used half the water. This made it doubly concentrated and a nice amount for two people. Perfect."

Back in the soup making mode is Debby from A Feast for the Eyes who joins us again with her first soup of the season. Although her Tomato Basil Soup with from tomatoes from her garden turned out to be a bit of an effort and mess to make, Debby says, "Served with a dollop of creme fraiche, this was very good. Way too much work, but still it was a great tribute to my husband's dedication in growing our tomatoes. I'm going to try this again, but I'm going to see if roasting tomatoes is going to be a whole lot easier."

Kim from Stirring the Pot gave Tyler Florence's Corn Chowder with Chroizo a try this week and says, "My chowder was not super thick, but had a very nice consistency. I found the chowder perfectly creamy, with little bits of corn throughout (even though blended) and a slightly sweet taste. I would make this again, and probably will this fall. I read online that many people love Tyler's version of corn chowder and make it a part of their Thanksgiving table. I agree and think this would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving table. It is a perfectly comforting soup!"

Also looking to Tyler for a corn chowder fix is Chaya from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog who says, "I woke up yesterday and it was cool. The temperature was in the low 70’s and I actually felt “cold”. This was the perfect cooking day and I had the desire to make soup. I had done little with soup over the summer. I had made a few quick and easy recipes but I wanted to fuss over soup.I ended making a chicken soup and Tyler’s Corn Chowder. I am a great fan of corn and a bigger fan of Tyler’s so I figured, this had to be a winner and it was."

Since I made another soup this week, making the most of some free Camembert I received from Ile de France, I decided to throw it into the round-up too. I pureed some cauliflower with onion and thyme cooked in chicken stock then added chunks of cheese for this Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Camembert Croutons. Perfect with some good bread to scoop up the "melty" Camembert on. Delicious!

Autumn is coming to Germany and Ulrike from Küchenlatein says, "The summer is over in Germany, the first autumn signs are visible. It's getting colder, so I served a Roasted Carrot and Herb-Dumpling Soup for lunch.The recipe can be found at Donna Hay's website (click). I had no parsley in my garden, so I only used chives. My sons liked the dumplings, it's a really delicious soup."

The Duo Dishes, Chrystal and Amir have a monthly "Guest Test Kitchen" on their blog where they feature a recipe from one of their many friends who like to cook. In this case it was their friend Sergio from New York. He created Sergio's Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken. He says, "Looking for that perfect light and healthy salad dish this summer? Keep in mind that summer is not over (officially) until after Labor Day. I decided to make a light, healthy salad, with homemade salad dressing and lightly grilled chicken breast cutlets. It’s perfect for picnics, the beach or a light salad for lunch at the office."

A nice turn out for sure, with wonderful soups, some making the most of the last days of summer and some welcoming fall and let's not forget, a delicious salad too. Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, sandwich or combination that you would like to share for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, just click on the logo on the side bar for all of the details. 

Happy Labor Day Weekend and have a great week!


  1. You know how I love corn and I also love potatoes. I am printing this up and making it vegetarian. If the weather doesn't get warmer although I heard it is going to, I will give this a try, this week. Otherwise, it will wait until a cool day.

    I look forward to the cool weather to make all kinds of soups. Thanks for sharing a winner. Love your photo.

  2. yummy soup deb can i use this recipe pretty please rebecca

  3. This sounds great! I love potato soup, and I especially love thai flavors!

  4. this soup sounded so comforting, am jealous that you have a "corn lady"!

  5. Yummy round-up - looks like corn was the secret ingredient of the week! I love Thai flavours, so comforting.

  6. Deb, your soup is a show stopper! Seriously. I love Thai food, so I can imagine the lemongrass, fish sauce, curry... oh, my mouth is watering!
    BTW, this is my first fall entry, this year. Last winter, I had fun blogging on Souper Sundays. I'm baaaack!


  7. Rebeccs--of course you can. Thanks for asking! ;-)

    Debby--I thought so but it said first time on your blog and I was too lazy to look! I changed it! ;-)

  8. That Thai soup sounds excellent! I love any recipe with the word Thai in the title, the flavors in that type of cuisine just appeal to me so much.

    You can tell the weather is getting cooler by the abundance of soups in this week's roundup! And so many good ones to choose from...

  9. Nice soups! This sounds like a fun event. I think I'll try to join the fun if it's open to everyone.

  10. I love your chowder, but I wanted to compliment you on another wonderful round-up. I don't know how you find the time to do all that you do. Kudos.

  11. That looks so delicious--I can imagine how good it must taste.

  12. Just stopped by to see what you're cooking up and saw all these tremendous ideas for soup (love your Thai soup with Hope all is well in the Aloha state. ~ roz

  13. I love the combination of corn, crab, and potatoes! What a perfect chowder for any season.

    What a gorgeous round-up of soup!

  14. Just found your blog through Bakers Corner. Lucky me.

    This Thai-Flavored Corn & Potato Chowder with Crab looks and sounds delicious.

    You have so many great recipes on your site.

  15. This soup looks absolutely wonderful can't wait to try it especially now that its getting colder out.


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