Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Comfort of Corn - Toumorokoshi no kurīmusūpu - Japanese Corn Cream Soup for NCR

Toumorokoshi no kurīmusūpu トウモロコシのクリームスープ

We Americans all know the sensual, sloppy summer ritual of running our teeth repeatedly across an ear of corn, dripping salt-gritty butter down the corners of our mouths to our chins, barely giving ourselves time to breath as we savage the cob to a ragged, sad mess. Our smiles are now ragged, sad messes, too, but it's all for a good cause: the naturally sweet, carb-y comfort of fine local produce. Who would have thought that a world away, the Japanese would be peeling open cans of kernels for a ritual comfort all their own?

Corn cream soup, as it is known to the Japanese, is a miracle of ease that stirs very happy memories of childhoods fussed over by nurturing mothers. Though not terribly different from a corn chowder, it does have a distinctive hint of Asian flavor, chiefly from the addition of green onion rather than our use of celery. Though our summer is officially over, and the harvest of fresh corn will soon wane and yield to apples, pumpkins, and turnips, it's a comfort to know that comfort is only a can away.

Toumorokoshi no kurīmusūpu (Japanese Corn Cream Soup) - Adapted from a Tess's Japanese Kitchen recipe

Serves 2


2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 cup well-seasoned and salted vegetable broth
1 cup half and half, light cream, or whole milk
1 ½ cups canned or fresh sweet corn kernels
2 green onion blades, chopped, green part only
4-6 deep-fried lotus root slices (optional garnish)
Additional salt to taste


In large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and golden. Do not brown. Add broth and your dairy choice. Increase heat to a simmer. Add corn kernels. Heat through. Carefully pour hot liquid into blender. Purée briefly. The soup will have a light texture, but will not be velvety. Pour directly from blender container into serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and optional lotus root slices. Serve immediately with salt shaker on side.
This corn-centric recipe is for Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, hostesses of the popular monthly event No Croutons Required.  Lisa will soon have the round-up online.  Do stop over for a peek and a taste of what's on the table.

I'll be back with another recipe post later tonight.  See you then!


  1. I love corn soup and that Japanese version looks terrific!



  2. I love the lotus root slices as garnish: they offer a nice contrast to the soup. Though I have never particularly enjoyed corn on the cob, I like corn soup (in fact, that's what we had for dinner tonight).

  3. Wonderful soup dear...love the creamy texture....nice pic..

  4. I love corn soup and that lotus root slice as garnish is simply great.

  5. I'll eat corn with anything in any way..so yum! I do love seeing the lotus root though, they are so fantastic and you don't see them too often around here!

  6. Corn soup sounds delicious and I LOVE the lotus topping.

  7. <3

    I just made it tonight! I didn't have any milk/cream on hand so I used avocados for creaminess.

    Check out the pictures :)

  8. I love this time of year- it's the perfect soup weather! I recently made tortellini sausage soup, but your soup looks WAY better!

  9. Susan, lovie ~ I firmly believe a creamy soup requires something crispy on top, so the fried lotus is perfect here. I have never been a fan of corn, but I eat it when in season (at its sweet best). This soup seems both uncomplicated and satisfying - and has been bookmarked for summer. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. This soup looks delicious! I never had lotus roots, but they surely have an interesting shape.
    The picture is beautiful, because it has something Japanese, like a zen garden: simplicity, calm or... I can't even find the word in English :-(

  11. Rosa – Thanks. This recipe was a nice surprise to come across.

    Simona – Lotus root adds not only visual interest, but a distinctive and satisfying textural crunch to the underlying bits-and-pieces soup below. I love the flavor of fresh corn, but find gnawing it off the cob requires a ten-minute ritual with dental floss.

    Hi, Supriya. Thank you. : }

    Rachana – Thanks. The lotus root was both tasty and ornamental – a two-fer.

    Elizabeth – Thank you. I am lucky enough to have a Japanese mega grocer close enough by that I can find renkon in nearly all its forms from fresh to cold-packed, peeled, and ready to further in a recipe. I also find very suitable quality roots in cans from my local Indian shop. Send me an email if you'd like me to ship you some to try.

    Akheela – Thanks always. : )

    Hi, Steph! Thanks. Avocado is a brilliant idea. I'll be over shortly to see what you've done.

    Anon – Perhaps my soup looks way better, but I bet yours tastes heavenly. : ) Thanks.

    Dear Shaun - So good to see you here again. American corn hybrids are much more sophisticated than they were decades ago. It's always a matter of taste, but anyone who's tried Silver Queen, for instance, can easily distinguish its sugar content and texture from silage. And of course, corn lends itself to so many wonderful fall dishes like Indian pudding and spoon breads, that it truly shape shifts from its cob roots. I do hope you enjoy some of the finer cob varieties when next you and Eric are visiting SoCal during its summer.

    Vanessa – Thank you. Lotus root has a strikingly unique beauty. I would like to try the seeds someday. They've been a bit elusive to me; I am probably overlooking them during my meandering through aisles of products barely translated into English.

    I do know exactly what you mean about the Zen calm of Japanese food stylism, the placement and minimalism are balms for a chaotic world. And the tableware has such clean and often organic forms and colors, that you cannot help but slow down to contemplate the scene and aid your digestion.