Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rainbow Corn & Coconut Chowder: A Healthy & Locally-Grown Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

It all started with corn sprouts. I was in the new Foodland Farms, the "gourmet market" off-shoot of a local grocery store chain that opened about 2 miles from my house. The store is a good source of hard to find ingredients, cheeses and has a fairly large selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. In the veggie section I picked up some locally grown sweet corn and a package of local corn sprouts. Although I have tried corn sprouts as a garnish before at restaurants, I had always concentrated on the dish underneath rather than the sprouts themselves, which are surprisingly sweet and good. I began throwing them in salads and such, and I decided to use them to garnish some fresh sweet corn chowder.

I wanted to make it a healthier, vegetable-based chowder and since my corn sprouts and sweet corn were locally grown, I decided that all the other vegetables in it would be too. So with the exception of the broth, coconut milk, paprika, salt and pepper--the rest of this soup is local, from the store, farmers market or my CSA box, and the local ingredients are highlighted in green below. I used coconut milk to thicken it slightly, wanting to keep it light and dairy-free. It's also important to "eat the rainbow" getting all sort of colors and therefore all kinds of nutrients into your diet, so Rainbow Corn & Coconut Chowder was born.

Rainbow Corn & Coconut Chowder
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 12 cups)

1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet potato (I used an Okinawan sweet potato), chopped
1 small daikon radish, chopped (about a cup)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth + 2 cups water, mixed
1 bay leaf
1 can coconut milk
5-6 ears of fresh corn (to equal about 6 cups), cut off cob
2 cups kale, chopped into thin ribbons
3 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
corn sprouts or other sprouts to garnish

8oz chicken sausage, sliced and lightly browned (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, and red pepper and cook until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, daikon, stock-water combo and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes). Add coconut milk, corn kernels, kale and parsley and simmer another 10 minutes until kale is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, smoked paprika and cooked chicken sausage if using. Serve in shallow bowls garnished with corn sprouts (or other sprouts) and paprika.

Notes/Results: Great--dense but not heavy, fresh, healthy and good, the chowder was what I was aiming for. Because I used some sweeter vegetables, in my mind it called out for more savory so I added some locally-made chicken sausage from the farmers market, and the the sausage and the smoked paprika were a nice contrast to the sweetness. Of course if you want to keep it vegan, I wold just add a bit more smoked paprika. I would make this again, playing around with the veggies, using what is fresh and local.

Lets see who we have in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week.

Kim from Stirring the Pot found ananswer to her bean cravings this week and says, "This Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup is really creamy and flavorful and costs next to nothing to make, which is a plus. The recipe and the picture caught my eye while reading through a copy of Giada's Kitchen and I was very happy to find that I had all the ingredients to make this soup. I am a big sucker for recipes made with pantry/staple ingredients."

Chaya from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog morphed two soups into her Corn Soup with Potatoes. She says, "This recipe originally was made with lard and ham steak but being kosher, I eliminated these from the recipe. To give the recipe some additional flavor, lacking the “treif” ingredients, I used a frozen container of Tyler Florence's corn soup. This photo is a small amount of soup to show you all the delicious vegetables in it."

Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies tried a creative take on a classic, Poached Salmon Salad with Warm Potatoes, Red Chile-Spiked Deviled Eggs, and Smoked Chile Dressing. She says, "That Bobby, he knows big flavour. This is Bobby Flay's spin on a classic niçoise salad, adding his signature South Western flavours for a delicious and reasonably healthy dinner salad. Ever since I made Julia Child's version of this composed salad in the summer I have been looking forward to trying it again, Bobby doesn't disappoint!
Serve this with a crisp white wine and a loaf of crackly-crusted French bread for a delicious dinner.

Here with a delectable fusion Veggie Sandwich is Christine from Kits Chow who says, "I made Korean mung bean pancakes, Bindae duk and it occurred to me that they would make a good patty for a veggie burger. I was right. This is a very good veggie burger and I recommend it for a meatless, Lenten meal. My sandwich is inspired by the Vietnamese sub, Bánh Mì and the meat portion is based on the Korean mung bean pancake, Bindae duk, except that I used split peas. How is this for Asian fusion!"

A few, but mighty dishes today! Thanks to Kim, Chaya, Natashya and Christine. If you have a soup. salad, or sandwich to share, click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a great week!


  1. Wow, so colourful and totally delicious looking. I love the idea of corn sprouts - they look wonderful. Corn season is all too short here, sigh.
    Delicious round-up!

  2. Wow, Deb. I've never heard of corn sprouts before. How exciting! The corn itself looks amazing all on it's own. This looks like a delicious soup!
    Thanks for adding me to the roundup! I have some more soup on the menu this week!
    I hope that everything in going well there in Hawaii. I didn't know about the conditions there until this morning.

  3. love the colors, I've never seen corn sprouts before, very nice!

  4. I've never tried corn sprouts! That's such a great-looking soup.

  5. I love the concept behind your soup Deb! Great that you took the locally-grown theme and ran with it. I've never seen corn sprouts before! They look so vibrant.

    Awesome round-up!

  6. I love your colorful rainbow chowder! What a terrific combination of ingredients!

  7. Well that certainly is a rainbow soup - so beautiful. I've never heard of or tried corn sprouts, but they sound divine.

    Great roundup. I hope to join in again next week.

  8. your soups are always so beautiful!

  9. I love the corn soup... I tried many times to grow my corn, but the cats always ate the small plants!

  10. Your soup is a vision of loveliness! I don't think I ever had a corn sprout before. I bet their delicious.


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