This is a soup that changed my mind about how good a soup should be.
This is a This inspired contemporary soup from a master chef. The smooth soup has a wonderful creamy mouth-feel and the aromas of lemongrass and the hint of chili make it supreme. This is rather simple soup to make and one that is a true joy to eat. I always double the recipe, you will crave a second bowl once you have licked the first one clean.
I love Maria Elia's cookbooks, I have every one of them. This one though is probably my favorite, the recipes are wonderful and the flavors creative.
For all recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, white preferred, thinly sliced
1 Thai or red chili, halved longitudinally, or 1/2-3/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ginger paste
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 stem lemongrass
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida)
5 cups corn, frozen ok
4 cups water
2 cups milk
Crème fraîche or heavy cream, to garnish
Cilantro, minced to garnish
For the confetti:
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup corn, frozen ok
1/2 teaspoon lemongrass, finely minced
1/2 red pepper or mild red chili finely diced
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro
Heat the oil in a pot on low heat and add the onions, fresh chilies and ginger. Sauté on low heat till the onions are soft and translucent but have not taken on any color. If using chili powder, add now and stir for 10 seconds.
Add the salt, pepper, lemongrass and flour, and give a quick stir to mix in to flour. Careful it will stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the corn and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and taste the soup, if too spicy remove the chili. You want the soup to have a touch of heat, not have the chili be overpowering. Also remember, when you purée the soup the spice will be diluted quite a bit.
Continue simmering for another 15 minutes. Cool and add the milk. Remove the lemongrass stalk. Purée the soup in a blender getting it as smooth as possible, it will take some time for the blender to break down the corn skins. Pass the puréed soup through a fine-mesh strainer, working the pulp with a spatula to squeeze out as much of the liquids as possible. The soup at this point should have the consistency of heavy cream, thick enough to hold up the confetti. Taste and adjust salt. The soup should have the definite aroma of lemongrass, a hint of spice and the sweetness of the corn should be highlighted. If the soup is too thick, dilute with milk, if to fluid, simmer gently till thickened.
To make the confetti, heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add the corn and lemongrass and fry till the corn has caramelized and taken on color, about 5 minutes. Add the red chili/pepper, salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes till the pepper is soft and cooked. Take off the heat and cool. Add the cilantro when cold and mix in well. If you mix the cilantro in when hot, it will cook and turn a drab grey and loose its freshness.
To serve, heat the soup and ladle into bowls. Add the confetti in the center and garnish with additional cilantro and a drizzle of crème fraîche or cream.