After writing about Samin Nosrat's silky sweet corn soup that calls for making a corn cob stock, a commenter mentioned she learned the corn cob stock technique from Deborah Madison and pointed me to this recipe. I made it and loved it.
The original recipe calls for garam masala in addition to the other spices as well as a tablespoon of flour. I left the flour out, because it seemed unnecessary, and I've made a few other adjustments, so reference the original recipe if you are curious. —Alexandra Stafford
ears corn, yellow or white varieties, shucked
cilantro sprigs plus 2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
finely diced red or white onion, trimmings reserved
butter or olive oil
coriander seeds or ground coriander
cumin seeds or ground cumin
hot or mild paprika
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
can unsweetened coconut milk (1 and 1/2 to 2 cups)
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, slice the corn off the cobs. I’ve been doing this in a shallow bowl/plate lined with a tea towel — a tip from Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat. See photos above.
Break the cobs and put them in the heating water with the cilantro branches and any onion trimmings (Note: red onion trimmings turn the stock very dark/murky—I now leave them out). Simmer for at least 15 minutes--longer if you can--then strain.
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re using whole cumin and coriander seeds, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat till they darken and become fragrant, then grind in a mortar and pestle. Add them to the onions along with the paprika and turmeric, and cook a few minutes more. Add in the coconut milk, the corn, the chopped cilantro, 1 and 1/2 cups stock, and 1 teaspoon salt. If the soup is too thick, thin it with more stock. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of half of the lime. Taste, and add the juice of the other half if desired. Taste, adjusting the salt if needed. I add about another teaspoon of kosher salt (so 2 teaspoons total) but I like salt, so adjust to taste.