This simple corn soup recipe is a variation on the Chinese Trini-style corn soup that I grew up with. It's easy to make, is dairy-free and can be made vegan.
There are 2 styles of Trinidadian corn soup that I grew up with: a spicy, chunky soup with split peas, large cut root vegetables, dumplings & small pieces of corn on the cob, and this simple and easy Trinidadian corn chowder that is often made with creamed corn, corn kernels and chicken. I've made a few adjustments to this recipe over time with the addition of coconut milk and fish sauce, and removing the chicken.
Table of contents
What kind of corn should you use?
The main ingredient in this soup is sweet corn. You can use canned creamed corn and corn kernels, frozen corn or fresh corn cut right off the cob.
I love making this soup with sweet summer-fresh corn. It's a simple and delicious recipe that allows the corn flavour to really shine!
If you are using fresh corn cut off the cob:
- Cut the corn kernels off the cob and set aside. You want 2 cups of corn.
- Using the back of the knife, scrape down the corn cob to get all of the pulp and delicious corn flavour out. Set the cobs aside.
- In place of creamed corn, add the pulp plus 1 cup of the corn kernels to a blender with the coconut milk. Pulse a few times to break down the corn.
- To get the most corn flavour, you can simmer the cobs in the vegetable or chicken stock for about 10 minutes before continuing with the recipe.
If you are using frozen corn, follow Step 3 above in place of creamed corn.
This corn soup is often made with chicken and milk. I've made small adjustments to make this a vegetarian version of the recipe.
- Chicken - If you want to add chicken to this soup, use boneless and skinless chicken breasts chopped into small pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper, green seasoning or your favourite Chinese seasoning. Brown the chicken in the pot with a bit of oil before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Bacon or Ham - Bacon or Ham can be added to this soup. Much like chicken, you'll want to cook diced bacon or ham in the pot first before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Dairy or Non-Dairy - I use coconut milk in this recipe to help thicken and add extra flavour, but you can use milk or cream if you prefer.
- Thickener - This soup recipe is often thickened using a corn starch slurry (use a 1:1 ratio of corn starch and cold water) but I leave this step out and instead rely on the creamed corn and coconut milk for consistency. You can use 2 teaspoons of corn starch mixed into 2 teaspoons of cold water mixed together then streamed into the simmering soup to thicken if you want a slightly thicker soup.
- Make it vegan - This soup contains an egg and fish sauce but those can be left out.
How to serve this soup
This corn soup is really great served with some crusty bread or a savoury scone for a light lunch, or served as a starter.
Is this a traditional recipe?
This is a soup that I grew up eating, and have memories of my father making it. I'm sharing the version that I remember eating with a few small twists. It really is a simple and budget-friendly recipe.
Trini-Style Chinese Corn Soup
- 1 cup fresh corn kernals (can use frozen or canned corn)
- 1 cup creamed corn
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 stalk green onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 diced jalapeno or hot pepper (optional)
- Add vegetable or chicken stock, creamed corn, corn kernals and coconut milk to a saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in seasonings: soy sauce, fish sauce, black pepper, salt and diced jalapeno (if using).
- Remove from heat and while stirring, stream in the beaten egg to create egg ribbons.
- Stir in half of the green onions and sesame oil.
- To serve, top with more green onions. Additional optional toppings: crumbled bacon, toasted sesame seeds.
Chinese-style dishes can be found all over Trinidad.
Chinese immigrants initially arrived in Trinidad in 1806 in one of, if not the first, settlement of Chinese people in the Caribbean. This was an experiment intended to create a labour source in the newly acquired British colony. Read more at The National Library and Information System Authority.