Cantonese Crabmeat and Sweetcorn Soup

Corn crab soup is a dish found in Chinese cuisine, American Chinese cuisine, and Canadian Chinese cuisine. The soup is actually cream of corn soup with egg and crab meat or imitation crab meat added. It is most likely of southern Chinese origin.

This soup is found in Chinese restaurants in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and some Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is particularly popular in Hakka-speaking regions of southern China and Taiwan. It is also popular in Chinese restaurants in Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In the Philippines it is called sopang mais.

Cantonese Crabmeat and Sweetcorn Soup
This Cantonese dish is widely known and served at virtually all Chinese restaurants worldwide.
Cuisine: Cantonese
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 green (uncooked) blue swimmer crabs (300–350 g each, to give about 240 g crabmeat)
  • 3 fresh corn cobs
  • 1½ litres chicken stock
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1¼ cups Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine) or dry sherry
  • light soy sauce, for seasoning
  • 4 eggs, whisked thoroughly
  • sesame oil, for drizzling
  • ¼ cup spring onions, cut into thin slices
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and white pepper, to season
  1. Pick the meat from the crabs over a bowl, collecting all the juices. Pick through the meat thoroughly at the end to remove and discard any stray bits of shell. Place the crabmeat in the fridge and reserve the crab shells.
  2. Using a small sharp knife, shuck the corn kernels from the cob. Set the kernels aside and use a cleaver to cut each cob into four pieces.
  3. In a wide-based saucepan, add the chicken stock, crab shells and corn cobs (and any bits of ginger skin or scraps you may have). Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to very low and let simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan on low heat and add the peanut oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, ginger, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cook gently, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until softened without getting any colour.
  5. Add the corn kernels and keep stirring for a few minutes. Add the rice wine and let the soup base simmer slowly for about 15 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. It will look thick and like a moist slurry.
  6. Strain the warm stock directly into the saucepan with the soup base. Bring it up to the boil and then turn it down and allow it to simmer for a few minutes to combine all the flavours. Taste it and season with light soy sauce.
  7. Once you are happy, stir in the reserved crabmeat; it will only need to cook for a brief moment.
  8. Just before you are ready to serve, make sure the soup is almost boiling and slowly pour in the egg, using a small wooden spoon to gently mix it through the soup. As soon as the egg is in, remove the saucepan from the heat. Your egg should look like it has formed thin strands. This is often easier to achieve in small batches.
  9. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, drizzle with a little sesame oil and serve with a nice sprinkling of spring onion slices and coriander leaves.

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