IT is no accident that most cultures would recommend a bowl of chicken soup if you feel under the weather.
"Picture provided by SPH"
Soup, properly made, is nutritious with proteins and minerals and is also a valuable tool in a diet plan.
Soup fills you up, is delicious, yet does not have too many calories if you make it with no cream or fat!
A good homemade defatted stock is the key; and while I draw the line at doing too much in any recipe, making stock is well worth the effort.
As for chicken soup, there are many varieties of it. While Jewish mothers would add matzo (flour balls) in their pot, our mothers like to cook chicken with carrot and dried mushrooms or even with corn.
That last is traditionally a creamy soup, streaked with beaten egg and thickened with corn flour. Similarly cream of chicken soup, dating back to the 60s, which was invariably part of a set lunch at one of those old world Hainanese cafes, would also be thickened… with cream.
In these diet-conscious days, I prefer clear broths, whether it is a double-boiled Cantonese soup or a clean Japanese seaweed soup.
This chicken, corn and green chilli soup falls into this category. Relying on homemade chicken stock, it is a clear soup full of chicken flavours, sweetened with fresh corn.
By the way, drinking a bowl of soup at the beginning of a meal has been proven to stop a person from consuming too many calories after. So slurp.
Clear chicken and corn soup (For 4 - 6)
- 4-6 cups of chicken stock (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 skinless chicken thighs, rubbed with a pinch of salt
- 1 ear sweet corn, shucked
- 1 cup edamame or fresh soya beans, available peeled in the freezer
- section of supermarkets
- 4 stalks baby bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Spring onion and fresh coriander, chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, chopped
- If making stock from scratch, place one chicken carcass, stripped of obvious fat, in a pot together with a carrot, an onion and a celery stick. Cover with water.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour. Skim off the scum that rises from time to time.
- When cool, chill stock in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the layer of fat on top, strain stock and use as needed.
- Bring 4-6 cups of stock to the boil again and cook marinated chicken thighs, stripped of obvious fat, about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove thighs and when cool, shred meat.
- Bring soup to the boil again and add shucked corn, soya beans and bok choy to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and turn off heat.
- Divide chicken meat among four to six bowls. Spoon corn, soya beans and bok choy into the bowls and pour over hot soup. Garnish with spring onion, coriander and chilli.