Wednesday 11 September 2013

Corn chowder with edamame and tofu bacon (and Seinfeld's Soup Nazi)

A creamy chunky crunchy chowder inspired by Martha Stewart and worthy of the iconic Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.

Television show: Seinfeld, comedy, USA, 1989 - 1998.

What does it mean to me?
In the beginning I wasn't a fan.  I remember good friends constantly referencing Seinfeld in the early 1990s in Melbourne.  I didn't have a television at the time.  The show seeped into our culture.  I am not sure when I started to watch it.  I suspect a lot of the episodes I watched as repeats.  I missed a lot too.  The ones I saw made me laugh.  If only my everyday life was so silly and so funny.  If only Kramer lived next door.  On second thought, perhaps I am better off without a Kramer in my life.

Food moment:
There are many great food moments in Seinfeld.  After all, if some tv shows are to be believed, life in New York is all about sitting around eating and keeping up with the latest trends in food.  I have to agree with Eating the Road that the top food related episode is The Soup Nazi.

In this episode, Jerry, George and Elaine all are swooning over the Soup Nazi's soup but any annoying behaviour results in them being refused service.  One of the best known catchphrases from Seinfeld is 'No soup for you".  The Soup Nazi character was based on a real life soup vendor who is not at all thrilled to be known by that title.  Larry Thomas who played the Soup Nazi based him on Laurence of Arabia and won an Emmy for his performance.  Fellow Vegan MoFoer The Naked Vegan Lunch is focusing on Seinfeld for MoFo and has already featured this episode.

Recipe notes:
I saw a Martha Stewart recipe for Edamame Corn Chowder and immediately fell in love with the idea.  The bacon in it appealed because we eat tofu bacon regularly and it is brilliant scattered on soups.  And it was every bit as good as it sounded, albeit quite different to Martha's.  While the tofu bacon is not mandatory, it really gives the soup so much more interest and complexity that I highly recommend it.

Random notes:
This recipe was made months ago and set aside for Vegan MoFo.  At the time this seemed like a good idea but once I have left a recipe in my drafts folder for too long I lose my enthusiasm.  I am glad I have a few posts planned for while I am away on holiday but I much prefer posting about recipes while they are fresh in my mind (or my stomach).  [I am also pre-scheduling this and noticed it is being posted on 11 September.  Perhaps fitting to have a New York post today when we remember the city and all it has gone through.]

However, despite this soup being a distant memory, I still remember it very fondly.  It was delicious, creamy, corny, full of vegetables, with a pleasing smoky crunch from the tofu bacon.  The edamame is fantastic in melding into the dish, providing some green and lots of protein.

I was surprised to find that this is the fifth chowder I have posted on this blog.  This one stands head and shoulders above the rest.  It is a little thinner but it is my idea of a perfect chowder.  It made me want to burst into song: "It was tuneful, every spoonful, made you yodel louder ... Come on in the chowder's fine!"  You might not want a chowder that will make you sing but I can guarantee that you will love this chowder.

Corn chowder with endamame and tofu bacon
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 4
    1-2 tsp olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    3 stalks celery, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
    3 medium potatoes, diced
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    3 cups water
    1 tsp stock powder
    1 tsp salt
    [one cup of cooked vegies from fridge - parsnip, carrot and sweet potato - optional]
    1 cup frozen shelled edamame
    1 cup green peas (or more edamame)
    400g tin of creamed corn
    1/2 cup soy milk
    2 to 3 tsp vegetable oil
    1/2 batch of tofu bacon, diced
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    2 to 3 tbsp chopped chives
    Heat olive oil in a stockpot.  Chop onion, celery, carrots, sweet potato, potato and garlic, in that order, adding to the pot as they are ready.  Stir occasionally.  Once the vegies are softened, add water, stock powder, salt and extra cooked vegies if you have them on hand.  Simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Add edamame, green peas, creamed corn, soy milk.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile fry tofu bacon in vegetable oil until crispy.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Serve chowder warm topped with tofu bacon, and chives.

    On the Stereo:
    Beginners guide to English folk: Various Artists

    This post is part of Vegan Month of Food September 2013.  This year for Vegan MoFo I am cooking recipes inspired by some favourite tv shows - and veering off topic occasionally.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo posts.  


    1. I never liked Seinfeld at the start and my dad haaaated it when mum watched it. Then gradually he'd start to chuckle, then eventually he would watch all the reruns and finally bought the dvds. I borrowed the dvds when I had a newborn who woke up to be demand fed overnight every 20-30 minutes and Husband insisted we get a portable dvd player so I could watch comedies instead of basically going nuts from constant interrupted sleep! Anyway Seinfeld is what got me through, I used to laugh so much the bed would shake. I'm hoping The Naked Vegan Lunch blog will feature calzone and cinnamon babka :) Great looking meal there too btw!

      1. @veganopoulous - wonder if seinfeld will have an impact on your children :-) I would have been worried to watch a comedy when I was feeding sylvia at nights because the laughter might disturb her - I read a lot and learnt to fill in sudoku with both hands

    2. I think in Germany Seinfeld was only aired late at night. I catched a few episodes and liked it. They dubbed it of course it was much funnier in English. I still have to find out how they translated soup nazi. I think your soup looks great. We have real soup weather over here right now and a corn chowder sounds comforting!

      1. @mihl - good question - I just looked up google translate and they have the Suppe Nazi - it would be very strange to watch Seinfeld in German - one of my odd experiences of travel was to watch Crocodile Dundee dubbed into polish and the little guy beside me on the bus chuckling away - never expected it to translate well!

    3. Seinfield was introduced to me by D, he watched it loads when he lived in America. I actually think we own some DVDs, he must be a fan.

      I've never had a chowder, obviously a veggie version. So who knows, your recipe may just be made by me. Again chowder is something my husband enjoyed when he lived in America.

    4. Love it! I have often thought of doing TV homage food - but desserts, of course.

    5. It took me a while to warm to Seinfeld as well but after a while it became one of favourite shows. I've never made a chowder before and love the sound of this recipe, especially with the edamame and tofu bacon topping so I'm adding it to my bookmarks.

    6. I am eating edamame right now. Though just fried in a pan, not anything fancy. You're always fancier than I am.

    7. Sigh. Love Seinfeld. I pretty much grew up on it!

      This soup is perfect for the season right now...a bit chilly but summer veggies still abound!

    8. I have watched Seinfeld in bits rather than consistently but have enjoyed the episodes I've seen - and think perhaps one day I'll go back and watch them all but doubt I ever will! (Same with Friends.) I am glad you got a soup in for your MoFo though and one with edamame and tofu bacon is very welcome indeed :)


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