So don’t freak out, but I went all Thai with my corn chowder.
I know it’s not traditional, BUT, sometimes traditional needs just a bit of an upgrade. Just sometimes. Most of the time I am all about traditional, but in certain cases like this corn chowder, I am not. I mean, there is coconut fried shrimp people… you just know this has to be GOOD.
Sadly, we are now into late August 🙁 Nonetheless, one of the best things about this time of year is corn! Yes, August means that corn is at its peak. It’s perfectly yellow and so dang sweet, which means we need to eat up all the corn we can before it’s gone, right?
Yes, most definitely.
But guys? Sometimes grilled corn just doesn’t do it for me. In all honesty, corn is not one of my most favorite vegetables. I know, however I do think this is partly because I had braces as a kid and anyone who has ever had braces knows that corn and braces DO NOT like each other. Like at all.
In turn corn and I were never the best of friends.
All that said, I do like corn. Especially with plenty of butter and lots of salt OR when mixed in with a dish like this Thai chile corn chowder. This has to be one of my favorite corn recipes of the summer. My dad loved it too. The Thai flavors + the fontina cheese + the coconut shrimp = the most delicious combo. I know it may seem a little odd, but it’s not, I swear.
You just gotta trust me on this, and really, have I ever steered you wrong (I like to think I haven’t!)?
And again, the corn!! You have to use all the corn before it’s too late. I know, you are thinking we still have a good month or more left of corn season, but the end of August means giddy up time, summer is coming to an end. Time to squeeze in those summer activities you haven’t yet gotten to. To me,even though I have been out of school for a couple years now, back to school signals the beginning of fall. So get to it, enjoy the remaining days of pool and beach time, hit the river, or take that mountain hike before the snow falls (my family is hiking Maroon Pass from Aspen to Crested Butte).
Good news is that I am ignoring my fall thoughts (well, at least on the blog anyway) and sticking to summer. I promised myself, and you guys, no fall talk till mid September. Sticking to it.
So CORN. We are doing this 🙂
MINI SIDE NOTE: Isn’t this just the prettiest bowl of chowder you ever did see? It’s all thanks to my dad (he is clearly THE BEST) and his garden full of mint. It’s kind of the only thing that grew…we got lots of mint, cilantro and sage…everything else just kind of, well, died 🙁
DOUBLE MINI SIDE NOTE: Aren’t the red chilies so pretty too?? My grocery store has been out of them all summer long and when my dad walked through my front door holding a giant bag of red fresnos I was the happiest. Again, my dad, he’s the best – Thank You!
You know what I really love about this chowder though? The ease of it. It just comes together so quickly and effortlessly. Granted frying the shrimp is not my most favorite task in the world, but it’s so very much worth it. Oh and for any of you who are not shrimp eaters, I made coconut fried chicken for the rest of the family (yes, everyone except my dad and I). They loved it, coconut on just about anything rules.
The meal takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and there’s not a whole lot of chopping involved, which really helps to speed up prep time. The hardest part of this meal is frying the shrimp, and it’s not that hard! I just hate doing anything with hot oil. My impatient self just does not get along with hot oil, my forearms live to tell the stories…and not pretty ones.
OK and what else? The flavors are perfect Thai. Spicy, fresh from the lemongrass, mint and basil, and slightly sweet from the sweet Thai chili sauce (this stuff is my favorite!) and um cheesy? Yes, I added cheese to a Thai soup. I know, what’s wrong with me? Do I have to add cheese to everything?
Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.
But really, corn chowder NEEDS cheese, no mater what the flavor, and it just so happens that fontina and Thai flavors go hand in hand. You’ll see, and your Wednesday night will soon be thanking me for it!!
I know I already touched on the shrimp (or chicken), but it’s also a MUST. It makes the soup, and gives it texture, heartiness and the best flavors. You can almost think of the soup as a dipping sauce for the shrimp.
Alright, got to go. I am getting mass amounts of phone calls from Asher demanding that I hurry up and get up there to help her pick out her outfit for school. The girl has been prepping for this outfit for the last three months.
YIKES. Wish me luck.
Thai Chili Corn Chowder with Coconut Fried Shrimp.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 lemongrass stalk chopped
- 1 fresno chile seeds removed + chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pieces potato peeled + cubed into small
- 4 cups fresh or frozen yellow corn
- 1 ounce can full fat coconut milk 14
- 1/3 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces fontina cheese shredded
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro + 1/3 cup basil chopped
- 1 small ripe mango, peeled + diced
- fresh cilantro basil + lime, for serving
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and fresno chile. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and add the potato. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes or until the potato is fork tender (this is when I start making the shrimp).
Add the corn, coconut milk and sweet Thai chile sauce. Continue cooking until the corn is tender and bright yellow, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter + fontina cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring often until the cheese has melted and the soup is creamy.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the basil, cilantro and a pinch of salt + pepper. Divide the soup among bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with mango, basil and coconut shrimp (recipe below).
Add the flour, salt + pepper to a shallow bowl. Add the eggs to another bowl and gently beat together. Add the Panko and coconut to a third bowl, mixing them to combine.
Working in an assembly line, dip the shrimp through the flour, then take it for a dip in the egg and then dredge it through the coconut crumbs. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
Heat a heavy bottomed, high-sided skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides. Once the oil is hot (BUT NOT SMOKING), add the shrimp in batches, frying each about 2-3 minutes per side or until the shrimp are light golden. Place the fried shrimp on a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Serve the shrimp warm atop the soup.
OH! The mango too! Yes, to mango on so many levels!