This is the first oriental dish I ever ate at a Chinese restaurant, in
Peterborough, England, in 1964, and it is a world classic that is so often
ruined by sickly sweet tins of creamed corn, tasteless crab and gloopy
cornflour. I thought it would be interesting to restore the dish to its
simplicity and reliance on good, fresh ingredients.
1.2 litres (2 pints) good-quality chicken stock
2 fresh corn cobs
225g (8oz) fresh white crabmeat
5 tsp cornflour
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh root ginger
2 spring onions, cut into 2½cm (1in) pieces and finely
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pan. Meanwhile,
stand the corn cobs up on a board and slice away the kernels
with a large sharp knife. Add the corn to the stock and simmer
for 5 minutes.
Check over the crabmeat for any little pieces of
shell, keeping the meat in the largest pieces possible. Mix the
cornflour to a smooth paste with a little cold water, stir it into the
soup and simmer for 2 minutes.
Stir in the crabmeat, ginger, spring onions, soy
sauce, rice wine or sherry, 1 teaspoon of salt and some pepper
to taste. Simmer for 1 minute.
Now give the soup a good stir, remove the spoon
and slowly trickle in the beaten egg white so that it forms long,
thin strands in the soup. Simmer for about 30 seconds and then