Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

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What’s the soup of your childhood? The one that your mother made for you when you had a cold, needed cheering up, or just as a treat? For me, there’s no question: it’s corn cream soup.

Corn cream soup (and yes, it’s called like that, not ‘cream of corn soup’ or ‘creamed corn soup’) belongs to the yohshoku category of Japanese home cooking. It’s an old fashioned, milk based potage, with creamed corn in it. It smells milky, and tastes sweet and savory. It’s loved by Japanese kids.

Now, while my mother was a pretty good cook generally, she did have trouble getting some things right. Her curry for instance was always rather watery. And her corn cream soup, instead of being silky smooth, always had little lumps of undissolved roux. I loved those little lumps though - they tasted like tiny dumplings. Later on when I started to make my own corn cream soup I followed recipes, so my corn cream came out smooth and lumpless. That was fine, but I missed the lumps from my childhood memories. So, I incorporated them back.

Everyone uses canned corn to make a corn cream soup. You can be fancy and use fresh, but that lifts this humble soup into the realm of gourmet special-occasion big deal cooking, which is not what my memories are about at all. I have adjusted the usual way of making this soup by using whole corn rather than creamed, since whole corn cans have more actual corn in them and I suspect less added sugar, and I like the mixture of crushed/creamed and whole corn niblets. Besides, creamed corn cans are unheard of here in Switzerland.

Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

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  • 1 can of whole corn kernels
  • 4 cups (about 1 l) milk, whole or 2%
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stock cube
  • salt and pepper

Optional lumps:

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. white flour

Equipment: immersion (stick) blender, regular stand blender or food processor

Slice the onion thinly. Cut the potato into small chunks.

Heat the butter in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the onions and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the milk and all the other ingredients, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the corn kernels for later. Heat up slowly over medium-low heat, and simmer until the potato is totally tender. Take the bay leaf out.

In the meantime, make the lumps. (This is basically a badly made roux.) Melt the butter in a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the flour. Blend and stir until you have a rather lumpy mix. Set aside.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender or food processor, until smooth. Add a little water if if it’s too thick. Add the reserved corn kernels.

Add the lumpy roux and stir briefly, but not too well - you don’t want it to disperse evenly in the hot liquid, you want it to remain in little lumps.

Season with salt and pepper (taste first since the stock cube is salty). Take off the heat (if you let it keep cooking it will curdle).

Makes 6 servings.

You can make it prettier by sprinkling some chopped parsley on top, but I like the minimalist butter-yellow look.

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oh! that’s funny. i

oh! that’s funny. i remember this soup from childhood, but i can’t remember who used to make it for me (wasn’t my mother)….i do, however, remember the occasional lump and like you, thinking they were like dumplings and always wishing for more. this will be interesting, making a bad roux.

santos. | 30 March, 2007 - 23:12

stock question

What flavor stock cube should you use? Chicken? (I may try to make it without the stock cube altogether, and just use salt & pepper.)

This may be a funny question, but what if you want to make it without the intentional lumps — should you make the soup the same way but stir the roux until fully smooth?

Inky | 7 April, 2007 - 06:06

no lumps

Inky, I use a vegetable stock cube, though chicken should be fine too.

If you don’t want lumps, try cutting the amount of roux down to half, and stir it in a little at a time to make a very smoooooth soup. (if you have an immersion blender (or stick blender) those are great for smoothing out lumpy soup and sauces)

maki | 7 April, 2007 - 20:22

How much corn kernels?

Ok, this might be a funny question too, but…how much gram of corn kernels are usually in a typical an?
Here in Germany it’s mostly 230gram per can (drain weight).
Thank you for your help!!!

Meriella | 9 April, 2007 - 19:14

230g / about 8 oz

Meriella, the 230g can is what I use also. (for USens that wouldbe about 8oz or a ‘regular size’ can).

maki | 9 April, 2007 - 20:52

Canned Corn Question

Do you use the liquid from the canned corn or drain it out?

anon. | 12 April, 2007 - 15:56

Canned Corn

I keep the liquid. It is sweet and makes more liquid.

mak-il | 12 April, 2007 - 19:40

liquid

I just put the liquid in, though you need to watch the salt content (some corn liquids are quite salty). And,you can always use frozen corn instead.

(sorry for the slowness in replying to comments this week folks..I’m down with a cold)

maki | 12 April, 2007 - 20:32

I made it, I made it, gluten and dairy free!

I finally made this recipe and thought it was very tasty, even with all the changes I made. yay! Thank you for the great recipe!

-Sea

anon. | 27 August, 2008 - 04:49

Blending

You are so gonna laugh. I just used one of those regular blenders for juices/milkshakes. It does say not to blend hot liquids, but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know exactly what I did wrong - probably overfilled it the first time but halfed the liquid the second. Both times resulted in colossal explosions of corn cream soup over my kitchen. Oh well, lesson learnt. I just gave up and ate it with all the ingredients intact in a bid to save what’s left. At least it tasted good …

anon. | 6 September, 2008 - 07:52

Ouch! I hope you didnt burn

Ouch! I hope you didnt burn yourself or anything! I’m glad it still tasted good though!

maki | 10 September, 2008 - 20:41

instants

my mom always made me the soup via instant mix. whenever i went to the restaurants, i would always order a cup of the soup. i LOVED the itty bitty croutons that came on the soup.

it’s wonderful to see the recipe. i plan to make some for my son. i hope he enjoys it as much as i did.

anon. | 10 September, 2008 - 20:34

another easy version

My mom’s version uses cream style corn (1/2 can), 1 egg, whole milk or half-and-half for richer taste, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of sugar. I loved it when I was a kid. This soup is on the menu at our restaurant. Uh oh…I just revealed a recipe.

Pat | 11 September, 2008 - 21:44

i love this soup~ but sadly

i love this soup~

but sadly no one im my family has ever made soup like this.
its blasphamy!

however, ive made an impact on my friends by making this for them.
its something ill reminisce about when im not in my teens anymore lol

i love your recepes because they will help make happy memories in the future of my friend's and family's lives :D

Izm | 23 July, 2009 - 09:37

Re: Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

Hi I'm using your recipe as part of my project and I was wondering if you could tell me what is the weight of onions used in grams? What type of onion is used? Do you use salted of unsalted butter? Also the volume in ml of the amount of stock used. Thanks

anon. | 23 May, 2010 - 05:54

Re: Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

I forgot to ask what kind of pepper and potato is used.

anon. | 23 May, 2010 - 06:27

Re: Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

By the way how many servings does this make? And how much is one serving?

anon. | 23 May, 2010 - 06:39

Re: Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

Oh boy. That's a lot of questions. I assume this is for a school project. I don't really know how much the onion would weigh, but you can take a regular sized onion from your kitchen and weigh it. The type of onion...a regular onion with a brown skin. I do not use stock - I use a plain old stock cube, in milk. I use black pepper (you can use white) and any boiling or salad type (or 'waxy') potato I have on hand. The butter can be salted or unsalted. This is a casual everyday kind of soup, so the ingredients do not have to be so precise.

maki | 23 May, 2010 - 13:40

Re: Corn cream soup with intentional lumps

I have a few cans of creamed corn I'd like to use. So if i want to use creamed corn instead for this recipe, how would I go about it? I would rather not have the lumpy roux and just rely on potato for the lumpiness.

thank you!

anon. | 12 February, 2011 - 09:49

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