Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup

A delicious and comforting Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup using fresh corn. It’s so easy to make this classic Chinese takeaway dish at home, plus it is healthier and fresher!

Chicken and Corn Soup

If you love Chinese food, chances are that you have tried Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup at one time or another. Despite it being popular and well known as a Chinese starter, it also happens to be quite common in Vietnamese households.

My children absolutely adore this soup for all of the obvious reasons – it’s comforting, they can slurp and eat the soup noisily, and it’s bright yellow!

Chicken and Corn Soup Recipe

My mother made this soup quite often when I was growing up, and always from scratch, of course. Her version starts off with a homemade chicken stock which she would make by using a whole chicken to create the broth, and the meat would be shredded to add later to the soup.

This is also how I like to make this Chicken and Corn Soup at home. But when time is tight, I either make the chicken stock by using the Instant Pot or pressure cooker (see my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Pho), or I resort to a good quality store-bought chicken stock.

Of course, homemade chicken stock is always best, but sometimes it is totally fine to take a short cut or two in the kitchen.

Cooking with Fresh Corn

Fresh corn adds a lovely bright flavour to this soup, and adding the corn cobs to the broth will intensify the corn flavour even more.

But if you don’t have fresh corn to hand, frozen corn also works well in this recipe.

Easy Chicken and Corn Soup

My mother’s version of this Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup, as well as many restaurant versions, tend to have a high broth to corn ratio. I think this is because Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup is typically served as a light starter.

For a more substantial soup, I recommend being generous with the quantity of corn. You can add more or less corn to the recipe below.

More Chinese recipes

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Black Pepper Chicken

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Chinese Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

5 from 1 reviews

A delicious and comforting Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup using fresh corn. It’s so easy to make this classic Chinese takeaway dish at home, plus it is healthier and fresher!

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 ears of corn, husk and silk removed (see Kitchen Notes)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • 5 spring onions (scallions), the white parts kept whole and the green parts sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 thick slices of ginger
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) roots (optional)
  • 1 to 2 small chicken breast fillets
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • freshly ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Use a very sharp knife to remove the kernels from the corn (see Kitchen Notes below).
  2. Reserve the cobs.
  3. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and boiling water to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the reserved corn cobs, corn kernels, white part of the spring onions (scallions), garlic cloves, ginger, coriander (cilantro) roots (if using), and chicken breasts.
  5. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 20-30 minutes until the corn is tender.
  6. Remove and discard the corn cobs, spring onions (scallions), garlic cloves, ginger, and coriander (cilantro) roots (if using).
  7. Remove the chicken breast fillets, shred and set aside.
  8. Remove half of the soup to a blender and blend, or into a large jug to purée with a stick blender.
  9. Return the puréed soup to the pan.
  10. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a thin stream, stirring the soup constantly as you do so. The eggs should form into thin threads as they cook.
  11. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and Shaoxing wine.
  12. Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) with some water to create a slurry.
  13. Slowly pour some of the slurry into the soup, stirring the soup quickly as you do so to prevent lumps from forming. You may not need all of the slurry – just add enough until the soup has thickened slightly in consistency.
  14. Taste for seasoning and maybe add some freshly ground white pepper.
  15. Add the shredded chicken.
  16. Serve with coriander (cilantro) and the reserved green spring onions (scallions).

Kitchen Notes

CUTTING THE CORN
* Removing the corn kernels from the cob can be a messy task. One trick is to use a bundt pan or ring pan – place the corn cob into the hole of the bundt or ring pan, and carefully slice off the kernels, allowing them to fall into the pan.
* Another method is to place the corn lengthwise on the cutting board and to slice off the kernels as close to the cob as possible. Cutting the corn lengthwise is safer than cutting it while holding it upright.

USING FROZEN CORN
If you are short on time, you could also use 2 cups frozen corn kernels for similar results.

USING LEFTOVER CHICKEN
Quite often, I omit the chicken from the recipe, but I will add shredded chicken from a leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken.

MAKE IT VEGETARIAN
Use a vegetable broth and omit the chicken from the recipe.

MAKE IT MY MOTHER’S WAY
1. Omit the chicken stock, water and chicken breasts from the above recipe.
2. Start by placing 1 whole chicken (about 1kg or 2 lb) in a large pot, and barely cover it with water (about 1.5 litres or 6 cups).
3. Add the corn cobs, white spring onions (scallions), garlic cloves, ginger, and coriander (cilantro) roots.
4. Bring the pot to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
5. Remove any impurities from the stock as it simmers, and let everything simmer for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the chicken is tender.
6. Remove the chicken and set it aside to rest.
7. Remove and discard all of the flavourings in the stock (you can strain the stock into a clean pot, if you wish).
8. Add the corn kernels, together with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine.
9. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add more water if the broth is too concentrated.
10. Proceed as per the rest of the recipe above.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 299
  • Sugar: 10.5g
  • Sodium: 437.6mg
  • Fat: 10.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.2g
  • Fiber: 3.9g
  • Protein: 11.9g
  • Cholesterol: 141.3mg

Did you make this recipe?

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Update

This recipe was first published on 2 November 2011. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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18 comments

  1. At Anna's Kitchen Table 2 November 2011

    Ha, you made me smile, picturing you wrestling with the corn!
    Oh well, at least you gave it a good go! :-))

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 2 November 2011

      Indeed but I’m not sure I’d be up for it again the future! It was pretty hard (and messy) work!

      Reply
  2. Sam-I-Am 3 November 2011

    Hi Crème!

    Wow! What and adventure and still you managed to produce a stunning photo! I LOVE Chinese restaurant Sweet corn soup and order it all the time, so when I saw your title and beautiful pic, I was all gong-ho and ready to go! Needless to say that my enthusiasm waned by the end of your honest review (thank you for that!). Still, I must tell you that I make a version of this soup, very close to the Chinese restaurant style, via a very good Marlene Matar recipe that I e-mailed Etoile ions ago and that she too uses and loves. It is made with chicken and as you say thickened with corn flour (actually custard powder as the Chinese like the yellow tint that gives their food) and so on….would you like me to e-mail it to you? Mercifully Marlene uses canned sweet corn 😉 THX again for a beautiful, informative an visually stunning post!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 4 November 2011

      Hi Sam! Ooh I never turn down recipe offers, especially ones recommended by you! I would love to have a copy of this recipe, especially since I love Chinese sweetcorn soup and would love to make it at home. I’m intrigued that a soup might have custard powder as an ingredient! Many thanks, Sam! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Caroline 3 November 2011

    Oh Thanh, you had me chuckling. I loved the honesty and pace of your writing and your really did capture your mood very well as yellow beads were pinging across your kitchen!

    I love this soup, but have not had it in years and years! I would probably go the frozen or canned corn route, but as you say the taste is good at least it was worth it.

    Lovely picture though, for all your cautions! Its a very warming, happiness inducing colour.

    Reply
    • Caroline 3 November 2011

      Oh and absolutely ADORE your spice grinder!

      Reply
      • eat, little bird 4 November 2011

        Thanks, Carrie! Well the soup didn’t taste bad, it just looked, er, gross 😉 Glad I managed to sort of hide that fact! The grinder is something my mum brought back from Vietnam many years ago and which we used at home as a pepper grinder. I loved it so much that, when I moved out of home, I just had to take it with me 🙂

        Reply
  4. Maureen Stapleton 3 November 2011

    I’m really glad that someone agrees with me about what this soup looks like. Delicious, but you have to close your eyes when you eat it. Kirstin– one of the other writers on our blog– says that all soups look that way, but I’m not sure I agree. This one was particularly gross.

    As far as wrangling the corn goes, I’d recommend just using frozen if you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting it off the cobs. I don’t think it makes any difference to the taste, and it saves you all the time and hassle of using fresh.

    Thanks again for reading our blog. Yours is great.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 4 November 2011

      Hi Maureen! Thanks for popping by my blog 🙂 I’m a big fan of soups and most of them look pretty appetising to me. But this particular corn soup – well, you described it best – looked like a bowl of sick! I think that’s why there is no close-up photo of this soup in Bill’s book, and probably also why there was a lot of green garnish on top. If I had to make this again, I would probably skip the blending part. I think I would also used tinned corn – I have yet to find frozen corn in the supermarkets in Zurich, though I’m sure they must exist …

      Reply
  5. Julia Levy 4 November 2011

    LOL the soup doesn’t look that bad!!! I heard it’s easiest cut corn off the cob in a deep bowl the walls of which stop the bits pinging and a-flying all over!

    Sorry tho that the soup doesn’t hit the spot. I do love the sweetcorn soup you can get in chinese restaurants, that slightly glutinous thick texture that’s both tasty and comforting. A lovely piece as always, even if the eating wasn’t quite as successful.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 4 November 2011

      Coriander can hide a lot!! 😉 I agree that the sweetcorn soups from Chinese restaurants can be really comforting but have never thought to make it at home. I hope to get my hands on a good recipe soon 🙂 The weather is really cooling down now and I look forward to having large mugs of soup for dinner.

      As you’ve realised by now, I think it’s only fair that I also report on the recipes which have not turned out so well. Not everything works out in my kitchen and I like to share that here 🙂

      Reply
  6. Vy 6 November 2011

    It looks very good Thanh! I remember my mom having one of those pepper grinders in the picture!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 6 November 2011

      Thanks, Vy! Ah these pepper grinders are a staple in most Vietnamese kitchens, I’m sure!

      Reply
  7. Ilana 14 November 2011

    Okay, I admit it, I missed lunch and am now secretly checking your blog at work to figure out dinner tonight! 😉

    Reply
  8. Tina 31 December 2011

    I made this soup tonight, and loved it! In order to make it weekday friendly, I used 2 cans of corn instead of off the cob. Turned out just fine, but next time I will use 1 can regular corn and 1 creamed corn. I followed the rest of the recipe as written. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 1 January 2012

      I’m so glad that you tried this recipe and that it worked out well with canned corn. I hadn’t thought of using creamed corn and think it would work great here! Thank you so much for letting me know how this recipe worked out for you 🙂

      Reply
  9. Krisie 1 October 2013

    Thx so much 4 the recipe!
    I added a little milk in mine n it came out pretty smooth…
    But i put a lil too much soya so it ended up becoming darker n looked pretty hideous by the tym i wuz done, but it wuz totally delicious! 😀
    Btw, ur pepper grinder looks really cool
    I used a pestle but i’m gonna go look 4 a grinder now!

    Reply
  10. Julia 12 April 2018

    Good idea! Looks very tasty! So YUMMY!!! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST!

    Reply