Suam na Mais is a Filipino soup made with fresh corn kernels, shrimp, and spinach. It’s creamy, nutritious, and delicious on its own or served as a side dish.
Suam na Mais was one of the first recipes I posted on the blog in 2013. I am updating it today because a) the old photo was ugly and needed a makeover, b) I finally found the right kind of corn to use at our neighborhood Asian supermarket, and c) I recently learned the traditional seasoning is shrimp paste and not fish sauce.
What is suam
Suma na mais is a type of Kapampangan soup made with fresh corn kernels, green vegetable leaves, flavorful meat, and thick broth.
- Native white corn
- Pork, chicken or shrimp
- Spinach, chili, ampalaya or malunggay leaves
- Fresh shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
The old version of the recipe uses yellow corn as I couldn’t find native white corn. Although the soup was delicious in its own right, it lacked the thick and creamy consistency of a good suam na mais.
Yellow corn has a tasty flavor but doesn’t have the viscosity of the white variety, which helps thicken the broth naturally. Fortunately, I was able to find these glutinous corn cobs pictured above, and they worked perfectly! If you live in the U.S., you can find them in the freezer section of most Asian supermarkets. If you are in the Philippines, look for mais lagkitan in the wet markets.
I also used fish sauce in my old recipe, but I recently learned from my aunt that the traditional flavoring for this Kapampangan soup is bagok (shrimp paste).
I like to add fresh spinach leaves for color and texture; feel free to use chili leaves, ampalaya leaves or malunggay (moringa) leaves if available.
How to serve Filipino fresh corn soup
This creamy corn and vegetable soup is delicious and filling and can be enjoyed on its own. It also makes a great side dish with steamed rice and your favorite fried fish or grilled meat.
Store leftovers in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Add water or broth to loosen consistency and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until completely heated through. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.
Looking for more classic Kapampangan dishes? Try this batsui soup made with pork and macaroni!
Suam na Mais
- 4 native white corn (glutinous)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 6 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch spinach, stems trimmed
- Shuck the corn cobs by removing the husks and silks. Using a sharp knife, cut the stem ends.
- In a large bowl, stand an ear of corn up and using a small knife, thinly cut the kernels off from top to bottom. Rotate the corn when done with each section to get to the next.
- In a small bowl, scrape the sides of the cobs using a spoon to extract the remaining pulp and milky juice.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, just until color changes.
- Add shrimp paste and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Add the cut corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until corn turns translucent.
- Add water and bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes or until kernels are tender.
- Add scraped corn pulp and juice and stir to distribute. Continue to simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes until soup thickens.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add spinach, pushing down the leaves into the broth. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the residual heat to cook the spinach just until wilted. Serve hot.
- For a creamy texture, use glutinous white corn or lagkitan. If unavailable, thicken the broth with cornstarch slurry (dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup water)
- Chili leaves, ampalaya leaves or malunggay (moringa) leaves can be used in place of spinach.