We have to stay hydrated but let’s face it, sometimes we want something more exciting than water. I’m not much of a soda drinker though so I came up with this Strawberry Lychee Lemonade. The strawberries bring the perfect sweetness, and the lychees add a read more
It’s time we settled the old Hellman’s vs Miracle Whip debate once and for all; Japanese mayo is the best mayo hands down. Richer, thicker, and with more yolky goodness than its American counterparts, it is essential to this Roasted Sesame Dressing. (And this Potato read more
When corn is at its summer peak, I like to whip up this Japanese style Corn Potage. It’s a silky smooth soup which is unbelievably creamy. It always tastes like summer in a bowl to me and it couldn’t be easier to make. Delicious hot or chilled, corn potage deserves a place on your summer table. You won’t believe how much deep corn flavor this soup has-the secret is using fresh corn 3 ways!
What Is Corn Potage?
At first glance there’s nothing about this recipe, or its name, that seems particularly Japanese. Potage is actually French, and refers to a vegetable soup that has been rendered extra creamy by pureeing it and straining it through a sieve. Like Hambagu before it though, Corn Potage rode a wave of Western style food adapted in Japan. It is now so beloved that you can even get it from vending machines and there are countless brands of canned corn potage at the market. In my opinion, Corn Potage is the Japanese equivalent of American chicken noodle soup. But while I like convenience as much as the next busy mom, nothing beats homemade.
When we were kids, my mom would takes us to family restaurants or kisetans (cafe) in Japan, and this soup was ubiquitous, literally everywhere. We thought it was so sophisticated and grown up and always ordered it. If you have kids, I guarantee they will love this. It has a comforting simple flavor that screams corn. For me, it’s nostalgic and lovely, and reminds me of summer vacation in Japan.
Making Corn Potage
Since corn is the star here, seek out the best you can find. Local is great if you can find it! Look for bright green, tightly wrapped husks that seem plump and heavy. Stay away from corn that has wet husks at the top which could indicate moldy corn.
But don’t throw those cobs out! We’re going to use them to infuse the stock with the sweet flavor of corn.
After 20 minutes, discard the cobs and set the stock aside to cool.
And now the Corn Potage is done! I like to garnish it with corn kernels. A little swirl of cream is a nice touch too. You can add some chopped parsley for a burst of color, but the corn is the star here. Grab some fresh corn from a farmers’ market this weekend and see why this soup enjoys such enduring popularity in Japan. When you do, don’t forget to take a minute and rate or comment on the recipe below and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you.
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ onion, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon flour
- 2 cups chicken broth*
- 3 ears corn
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- white pepper
- chopped parsley, extra corn kernels, or heavy cream for garnish
- Shuck the corn, rubbing your hands up and down to remove the silk.
- Put a small ramekin upside down (You can use whatever small dish/cup you have) in a large bowl. Prop the corn up on the ramekin and then cut off the corn kernels with a sharp knife. The kernels will drop into the bowl. Set aside, saving the corn cobs.
- Put the corn cobs in a pot and add the chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to medium.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Discard the corn cobs and set the chicken broth aside to cool. You should have 1 ¼ cups of broth. Add some water to make up the difference if needed.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and cook for 6-8 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and flour and cook for a minute.
- Add the chicken broth in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat.
- Add the corn kernels, stir and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Pour the soup carefully into a blender cup, take the feed pour cover off, and cover the opening with a clean kitchen towel. Pulse and then puree until very smooth.
- Strain through a sieve (do not use a fine sieve or nothing will get through. You are just trying to filter out some of the corn skin and heavy fibers), and pour back into the rinsed pot.
- Add the milk, salt, and pepper and heat over medium high heat for several minutes until the soup is hot. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. If the soup is a little thick add a little a couple extra tablespoons of broth.
- Garnish corn potage with a little chopped parsley, some extra corn kernels, or a splash of heavy cream before serving.
*To make this vegetarian, use a good vegetable stock.
Keywords: summer, corn, soup, japanese
July and August in Japan (and really almost everywhere) can be incredibly hot and humid. So instead of steaming hot bowls of noodle soups, they turn to cold noodles, including this hiyashi chuka, a vibrantly colorful cold ramen noodle bowl. Hiyashi Chuka translates to “chilled Chinese”, read more
We can’t get enough of watermelon in our house. The crunchy refreshing taste and beautiful red flesh is the complete package. We buy two whole watermelon each week just to tame our appetites. But what happens when you cut into a watermelon and discover that you picked a dud? Instead of bright red, you’re met with a dull pink. Well you get creative….Since there’s nothing more important in these hot summer months than staying hydrated, a watermelon drink sure would hit the spot. And so I present to you this classic Korean drink, Watermelon Soju. Icy cold, refreshingly sweet, and just enough boozy kick to make you forget how sweltering it is outside. This recipe is so simple, and as an added bonus you can turn the leftover watermelon rind into this delicious kimchi.
Soju is Korea’s most popular spirit. It is the center of their rather robust drinking culture. Soju was traditionally made from rice, but now is frequently made with sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, wheat, or any combination of these ingredients. It is distilled like vodka and has a similar neutral flavor. Soju can be found at most well stocked liquor stores or online. If you see shochu at the store, you can go ahead and get that instead.
Japanese shochu is a similar distilled spirit and probably came to Japan from Korea, which already had soju in production starting in the 13th century. The origin of the names is the same for both languages. ‘So’/’Sho’ means burned to reference the distilling process and ‘ju’/’chu’ means alcohol. Although there are some distinctions between the two, with shochu having more strict rules on production and allowances for additives, mass produced soju and shochu can be used interchangeably. Since we’re using the soju/shochu in a blended drink, use a budget minded brand. A high quality, hand crafted spirit would be delicious too, but a bit of a waste.
Finally, most sojus are light with a low alcohol content while shochus tend to be purer and also higher in alcohol. Depending on the brand, the alcohol content can range from similar to wine’s to almost 3 times as much! Just keep that in mind when choosing your bottle.
Making Watermelon Soju
This recipe is a breeze to make. I start by cutting up the watermelon. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a great time to use less than prime fruit. Whether it’s a disappointment you purchased, fruit that’s out of season, or maybe something sitting in the fridge just a wee bit too long, this drink will put the zip back into that fruit.
Cut the fruit up and then store it in a container or ziptop bag in the freezer for at least 2 hours until it’s frozen.
While the watermelon is in the freezer, we are going to make a simple syrup. (Any leftover syrup is excellent in iced coffee, thai tea, really any cold beverage that could use a little sweetness.)
Let the syrup cool to room temperature. And once the watermelon is frozen, it’s time to make the Watermelon Soju!
Repeat with the rest of the watermelon and your cooling, slushy, summer delight is ready! Garnish with some mint and a wedge of lime. A pitcher of Watermelon Soju is just the perfect afternoon pick me up for a hot day: cold, refreshing, with a touch of sweetness and alcohol. But if you do want some food to serve with Watermelon Soju, this kimchi pancake or some salt baked shrimp would keep the summer vibes going.
I hope this Watermelon Soju cools you down and keeps you hydrated all summer long. Take a moment and tell me what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below. And show off your gorgeous drinks by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- ¼ whole watermelon, about 3 pounds
- 1 cup soju
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Lime slices/wedges
- Sprigs of mint
- Dice the watermelon into 1 inch cubes. You should yield about 2 ½ pounds. Use the rind for another purpose or discard.
- Freeze the watermelon until frozen, about 2 hours.
- In the meantime, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. Set aside to cool.
- Add half of the frozen watermelon, ½ cup of soju, and a couple tablespoons of the simple syrup. Blend until smooth. Repeat with a second batch.
- Serve watermelon soju immediately with your garnishes.
Keywords: summer, soju, korean, cocktails, drinks, watermelon