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July 28, 2010

Thai Coconut Corn Bisque

While grocery shopping last week it occurred to me that I hadn't had any corn yet this summer. Seeing that I live in Illinois (read: the land of corn), that seemed outright insane. I snatched up 4 cobs with plans to consume them as soon as possible.

A couple days later I was roaming a farmers market over my lunch hour just for fun (what, you don't do that?). A lady was standing out in front of her booth as I walked by, and she approached me with an ear of corn, husk peeled back and ready to bite into. She claimed to have the best sweet corn around and insisted that I try it. Her tactic worked, ignoring the 4 cobs already at home, I bought a half dozen of hers.

Two days passed, still none of the 10 cobs had been consumed. My CSA delivery arrives with, what else, more corn. I suddenly found myself up to my ears in ears, 14 to be exact. It was definitely time to buckle down and eat some corn!

I decided to go with soup to start, because I knew I could get through half of my surplus in one shot. My soup borrows some techniques and ingredients from Joanne's and Ashley's soups, with a few twists of my own. The most exciting part is the homemade stock, which puts the bare cobs to use after the kernels have been stripped. Brilliant, and more importantly, delicious! The spicy Thai and citrus flavors compliment the sweet corn wonderfully. The bit of coconut milk stirred in for a creamy finish rounds out the Thai flavors, yet keeps things light enough for a summer meal.

Thai Coconut Corn Bisque
(Adapted from Eat Me, Delicious)
Serves 4

1/2 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups fresh corn kernels, divided  (about 6 large ears, reserve cobs for stock)
4 cups corn cob stock* (recipe below, or sub other vegetable stock)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp kaffir lime leaves, chopped (or sub zest of 1 lime)
1 tsp Thai curry paste, red or panang (omit for milder soup)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Stir in celery, carrots, garlic, and ginger - cover the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, start prepping your lemongrass. Cut off the bulbous portion at the bottom and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut a few slits along the stalk, and "bruise" the lemongrass by pressing the flat edge of a chefs knife blade down on it. This will open it a bit and release the flavors.

Add the lemongrass to the pot, along with the coriander, salt, crushed red pepper, 3 cups of the corn kernels, and the stock. Increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove lemongrass and puree the soup with a hand blender (or in batches in a blender), leaving it a little bit chunky. Return the lemongrass to the pot, along with the remaining corn, diced red bell pepper, curry paste, and lime leaves. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the lemongrass, stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, and cilantro, and serve.

*I made the stock a day ahead and refrigerated overnight to cut down on prep time.

Corn Cob Stock
(adapted from Eats Well With Others)
Makes 4-5 cups

6 corn cobs, kernels removed and reserved for another use
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled
1 rib of celery, trimmed
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp coriander seeds
8 cups water
1 tsp salt

Heat a large (dry) pot over medium heat. Add coriander seeds and toast for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids. Freezes well.

Have corn but not in the mood for my soup? Check out these wonderful looking, corn-centric recipes that are sure to inspire!


  1. What? What's this? A post ;-) LOL. This looks delish!

  2. Oh how I wish I had 14 ears of corn at home!! The soup looks yummy. Great idea to add curry paste! Love all the links at the end for other corn recipes.

  3. this looks so good! I loooove Thai flavors, and I love anything with a coconuty flavor going on! Looks sooooooo delciious! And everytime I come to your blog I see those tempeh hot wings anad WANT THEM!! I still need to make that recipe!

  4. Corn Cobb stock looks very cool. I also love thai soups. Anything with lemongrass and I am in! This looks wonderful.

  5. No corn yet this summer?! That's crazy! I've been eating tons of it :) I'd say you redeemed yourself with this soup.

  6. I love how you ended up with 14 cobs. At least I am not the only one that does stuff like that, LOL.

    Corn cobs do make a great stock. I have been known to save the cobs in the freezer. Nuts right? ;-)

    Your soup sounds delicious,

  7. That sounds amazing! I love Thai food. Glad to see you back. :-)

  8. Your bisque looks absolutely amazing. I need to get some corn and try it!

  9. This looks wonderful! I love Thai flavors. I'll be trying this soon.

  10. I have been avoiding corn, since it is just geting fresh here. But the next month, I will be stocking up. Can't wait to try this!

  11. What an interesting recipe! We don't have that much fresh cor over here, but from time to time we buy it.Going to add it to our next grocery list.

  12. Up to your ears in ears! I love it.

    I'm so glad you made and enjoyed the fresh corn cob definitely makes the soup. I saw this over at Eat Me, Delicious and thought it looked so good. Definitely the perfect use of 14 EARS!

  13. Wow, I didn't know you could use the cobs for stock, that's so great!!

  14. looks delicious! i love corn soup.


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