In the US we hide corn, in some form or another, in seemingly everything. For those of you who did not grow up in Iowa you can see King Corn for examples. Mostly this hidden corn is in the form of corn syrup, sweetening seemingly everything a food company wants to pass off as edible.
On the other hand, in Taiwan you find corn, whole corn, in everything. I am not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but I found kernels of sweet corn in; sweet and savory buns, bread, on pizza, grilled corn (ok that one is normal), seaweed rice rolls, sandwiches, noodles, soups, fried rice, hot pot, etc. I know I must be forgetting somethings. Pretty much everywhere I looked and never expected to see it, there it was, corn, 玉米 (yu mi).
Corn is obviously not native to Taiwan, being from the Americas and all, but boy oh boy is it ubiquitous and Taiwan has perfect corn growing weather I’ll give them that, hot and humid. Feels like Iowa in August for 9 months of the year.
One of the places that corn appears is in the vegetable broth that one finds in Taiwan. I was not so surprised by the time I had the broth that there was corn in it. I was, however slightly surprised that the corn in many Taiwanese soups was still on little sections of the cob. To be honest the corn cob actually provides a fair bit of flavor to the broth. So simple it barely deserves a recipe, but still here it is, a light and fairly delicate 台式蔬菜高湯 (tai shi shu cai gao tang) Taiwanese Vegetable Broth.
- 2 fresh ears of corn, on the cob, broken into pieces
- 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
- a couple strips of dried kelp/kombu
- 3 or so dried chinese black mushrooms or shiitakes
- Fill a 4 to 6 quart stock pot about three quarters full of water cold water and put over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add all the ingredients, return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- This broth can be used for a variety of vegetarian dishes/soups, or you can salt to taste and eat it as is (In Taiwan soups often have very little if any salt).
Above is an example of corn in a broth from a restaurant in Taitung. Actually 綠房子 The Green House is one of my favorite places in all of Taitung to get a “set meal” and a healthy juice drink. It is on the corner of Waihuandao (hwy 11) Rd. and Chenggong Rd.（外還道與成功路路口）if you are ever in the neighborhood.