Vegan Chinese 'chicken' and Sweetcorn Soup is so deliciously easy and quick to prepare. Its perfect for a light lunch, or as a starter or side dish soup for a Chinese themed meal or for an at home take-out or fake-away meal. Tasty pieces of jackfruit, sweetcorn, fresh bean sprouts, Chinese five spice and veggie stock is all that is required to prepare this flavour packed broth. Finish off with a simple garnish with spring onions and a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce for a flavour packed soup the whole family will love.
History of Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup
Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup is a popular dish in many Chinese restaurants around the world, especially in the West. It is creamy, slightly thickened, and often enjoyed as a starter or side.
The history of chicken and sweetcorn soup is a blend of traditional Chinese cooking traditions and adaptations to Western tastes. Soups have been an important part of Chinese cooking for thousands of years. They come in many varieties and are made with different meats, vegetables, and herbs.
Corn (or maize) is native to the Americas and was introduced to China in the late Ming dynasty (around the 16th century) through trade routes and exploration. Chinese cooks began incorporating the corn into their dishes, and it soon found its way into soups.
As Chinese immigrants moved to Western countries, they opened restaurants and began to change their dishes to suit the local tastes. Chicken and sweetcorn soup, in its creamy form, is more of a Western adaptation as traditional Chinese soups are often clear broths.
The creamy texture is usually achieved by adding cornstarch or beaten eggs, which is more in line with Western preferences for thicker soups. This addition of an egg being whisked through the broth before serving is what resulted in this soups other name - egg drop soup.
Due to its comforting flavour and creamy consistency, the soup gained immense popularity in Chinese restaurants in the UK, US, Australia, and other Western countries. Its simplicity, combined with familiar flavours quickly made it a popular choice, in restaurants as well as take-aways.
While the soup is widely recognized in Western Chinese restaurants, it might not be as commonly found in its familiar creamy form in mainland China. Instead, you might find variations of chicken soup with different vegetables or herbs.
Our Chinese inspired Vegan Chinese 'chicken' and Sweetcorn soup is perfect for quick and easy everyday lunches, or enjoy a bowl as part of a Chinese meal, or to celebrate the Chinese New Year which begins on February the 10th 2024, which, incidentally is the Year of The Wood Dragon.
Vegan Chinese 'chicken' & sweetcorn soup
Our veggie adapted soup replaces the chicken with jackfruit. Jackfruit is perfect for this soup as it provides the correct texture whilst soaking up the delicious Chinese 5 spice, veggie stock, and fresh sweetcorn flavours.
For the veggie stock we used 2 meat free chicken OXO cubes that was sourced from Asda (UK) but any vegan chicken stock or regular vegetable stock can be used.
We also used corn kernels that were removed from fresh corncobs as we managed to source some at the reduced section of the supermarket. However canned or frozen sweetcorn is just fine for this recipe.
Once the jackfruit, sweetcorn, and Chinese 5 spice powder has simmered in the veggie stock for about 10 minutes, we added fresh mung bean sprouts. The mung bean sprouts are the ordinary inexpensive ones usually found near the fresh stir fry veggie mixes in the supermarket.
We like to add the mung bean sprouts as a replacement for the egg that is traditionally dropped into the broth and stirred around to create strips of egg. Although the bean sprouts do not add any creaminess they do contribute delicious fresh nutty flavours and crunchy pleasing textures.
Before serving, traditional Chinese chicken and corn soup is generally thickened up with a cornflour [cornstarch] slurry which is basically an equal mix of cornflour and water. So to finish this veggie soup a cornflour mix is poured into the broth, after the bean sprouts are added, and the soup is reheated for a few minutes, before serving.
That's all there is to preparing this really easy vegan Chinese inspired soup recipe. It's so simple and quick but the flavours are so good especially when each served portion has a few extra bean sprouts scattered over, along with a spring onion garnish, and finished off with a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce.
If you prepare this recipe do pop back and let us know how you got on as we love receiving comments and feedback. Thanks so much, Jacq x
How to prepare vegan Chinese 'chicken' and sweetcorn soup
This is the best vegan Chinese chicken soup recipe as its just so easy, quick, and fuss-free soup so is cooked in one-pot and can be ready to enjoy in just 30 minutes. Our kind of recipe!
Using two forks shred the jackfruit into small pieces.
With a knife slice up any harder end pieces.
Add the jackfruit, sweetcorn, and Chinese 5 spice powder to a soup pot.
Pour in the hot vegetable stock, using a vegan chicken flavour stock if possible. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare a cornflour [corn starch] slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water.
Next, add in the bean sprouts and pour in the cornflour slurry, stirring quickly.
Keep a few of the bean sprouts back to add to the finished dish.
Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir through some of the chopped spring onions.
Dish up with a garnish of fresh beansprouts and the leftover spring onions.
To finish, a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce is very tasty.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Leftover soup can be stored within a covered container and placed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftover soup can also be frozen for 2-3 months, although do keep in mind that the texture of the bean sprouts may change slightly.
To reheat, add the soup to a pot and over a medium heat bring to the boil. Gently simmer for a few minutes until piping hot. Extra vegetable stock can be added if preferred. If you have any of the fresh garnishes left - bean sprouts, spring onions - add those after reheating.
Yes, this veggie soup can be easily prepared as gluten-free. Simply ensure that your vegetable stock, soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice powder is free from gluten ingredients. Tamari soy sauce is a good choice for gluten-free diets as is liquid coconut aminos another soy sauce alternative.
This soup is a delicious starter as its low in calories yet packed with flavours so it does get the appetite started! However, its also a nice light lunch meal or it can be paired up with a few extras for a more substantial meal. A few suggestions:
* vegetable spring rolls
* crispy tofu bites served with some sweet chilli sauce for dunking, enjoyed as a side
* add a few Chinese dumplings or gyozas into the soup along with the bean sprouts
* enjoy with slices of toasted bread
* a wee bowl of lentil, chickpea, or seaweed based crisps (or in the US - chips)
* seaweed snacks or those little seaweed snack sheets
* line each serving bowl with rice noodles or Udon noodle or buckwheat noodles, before ladling over the soup
* add cooked rice at the bottom of each bowl
* sweet potato chips, fries, or wedges, enjoyed as a side
* add fresh spinach to the base of the serving bowl and ladle over the soup
* a nice fresh crispy salad on the side
* cooked rice at the bottom of each bowl
Yes, a few extra ingredients can be added to the soup. Sometimes we like to add some edamame beans or broad beans, which are usually available frozen from most supermarkets, and stir-fry vegetables such as strips of bell pepper, carrot batons, celery batons for a nice crunch, or some some mange tout, sugar snap peas, green beans, finely chopped cabbage, bok choy, or kale for extra fiber and green goodness. Also, a few fresh chilli slices can be included for a spicy kick.
Of course not. If preferred just leave the cornflour, also known as corn starch, out of the soup. The soup will be thinner but the delicious flavours will remain the same.
The canned jackfruit can be replaced with vegan Quorn pieces or another brand of vegan pieces, chunks, crumbles, soy curls, etc., or butterbeans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms.
Mung bean sprouts originate from the mung bean (Vigna radiata) and they are a popular ingredient used in various Asian cuisines, particularly in Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian dishes. They are a common ingredient in stir-fries, soups, salads, and dishes like pad Thai.
Mung bean sprouts are slender with a crisp, watery texture, and they have a pale, white stalk that tapers to a yellowish tip where the mung bean remains attached.
They have a subtle, nutty flavour and provide a satisfying crunch when added to dishes. Mung bean sprouts are low in calories but high in nutrients and they contain essential amino acids, vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Sprouting mung beans also increases the bioavailability of these nutrients, making them easier for the body to absorb.
To sprout mung beans, they are soaked in water to begin the germination process and are then placed in a dark, moist environment for several days. As they germinate, the beans produce long white shoots, which are the sprouts.
As with other sprouts, mung bean sprouts are perishable so they should be consumed soon after purchasing, stored in the refrigerator, and washed thoroughly before use. They're often added towards the end of the cooking process to retain their crunch and nutritional benefits.
For another vegan recipe that includes mung bean sprouts check out our Vegan Thai Red 'beef' Curry recipe.
If you can't find mung bean sprouts at your local store or supermarket then you could always sprout your own at home using dried mung beans, but here are a few ideas for mung bean sprout alternatives:
1. Soybean Sprouts: These are thicker than mung bean sprouts and have a stronger flavour but they can provide a nice crunch. These sprouts are popular in Korean cuisine.
2. Alfalfa Sprouts: These are more delicate than mung bean sprouts with a lighter texture.
3. Snow Pea Shoots: These are the young leaves and tendrils of the snow pea plant and they have a nice crunch and a slightly sweet flavour, reminiscent of snow peas. 4. Watercress: While it doesn't have the same texture as mung bean sprouts, watercress can bring a peppery flavour and nice chewy texture to the soup.
5. Shredded Cabbage: Especially Napa or Chinese cabbage, can provide a similar fresh and crunchy texture when used for the soup.
6. Cucumber: Thinly sliced or cucumber batons can add a nice refreshing and crisp texture.
7. Rice Noodles: These won't add any crunch compared to bean sprouts but you can use soak or cook the rice noodles and add these to the soup as a pleasant alternative.
8. Celery: Thin batons of celery can be a good alternative and can provide a strong peppery flavour, but if you prefer the celery cooked a little then do add it to the soup to cook rather than add raw at the end.
9. Radish Sprouts: These have a bit of a peppery kick but they would be nice in the soup.
10. Bok Choy or Baby Bok Choy: Thinly sliced, these can be added to the soup and cooked for a few minutes, especially the thicker stalks, and would be a nice nutritious alternative to bean sprouts.
More tasty Asian inspired vegan soups
We love spicy, curried, fruity, warm, sweet, and savoury warming Asian inspired soups so we have a nice family recipe collection that is constantly being added to, so for more vegan soup recipes do check out our Vegan Soup Recipes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Chinese 'chicken' And Sweetcorn Soup
- Large soup pan, Dutch oven, or Wok
- 2 cutlery forks for pulling the jackfruit pieces apart
- 1 can jackfruit [400g [14oz] can, drained, yields about 215g drained jackfruit]
- 200 grams sweetcorn [fresh, frozen or canned]
- 100 grams beansprouts [long mung bean sprouts, the type intended for stir fry's]
- 2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock [hot, use a vegan chicken flavour stock such as meat free chicken flavour OXO cubes]
- 2 tablespoons cornflour [cornstarch]
- 6 spring onions [sliced thin]
- sesame oil [a drizzle over each portion, or your preferred amount]
- soy sauce [a dash over each portion, or your preferred amount]
- Drain the jackfruit from the can and wash any brine off, drain well or pat dry.1 can jackfruit
- Using a fork or two forks shred the jackfruit into pieces. Using a knife slice any firmer jackfruit pieces into smaller bits.
- Add the shredded jackfruit to the pot along with the sweetcorn and Chinese 5 spice powder.200 grams sweetcorn, 2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
- Pour in the hot vegetable stock, and season with a little salt and pepper.1.2 litres vegetable stock
- Bring to the boil, and over a medium heat, gently boil for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the 2 tablespoons of cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.Once the soup is ready, pour the cornflour slurry into the soup, stirring until its fully mixed through.2 tablespoons cornflour
- Next, add the bean sprouts (reserve a small amount for the garnish) and give the soup a mix.100 grams beansprouts
- Bring back to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Scatter over some of the sliced spring onions.6 spring onions
- Serve each portion with the leftover spring onions and a few of the bean sprouts.Optional but recommended: Drizzle a little sesame oil and soy sauce over each serving.sesame oil, soy sauce
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Leftover soup will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months.
- Reheat by adding the soup to a pot, pouring in extra vegetable stock if necessary, bring to the boil and reheat for a few minutes until piping hot.
- The canned jackfruit can be replaced with vegan Quorn pieces or another brand of vegan pieces, chunks, crumbles etc., butterbeans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms.
- For more substitution ideas do check out the recipe notes and FAQ section above this recipe.
- Looking for more vegan 'chicken' soups? Do try our Vegan 'chicken' Noodle Soup and our Vegan Scottish Cock-a-Leekie Soup which are both fuss-free easy family recipes.
Prepared our tasty Vegan Chinese 'chicken' and Sweetcorn Soup? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe as we love hearing from you, so do drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. Thanks so much, Jacq x