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Suam na Mais:Corn Soup with Shrimps and Spinach

Suam na Mais is a classic Filipino soup which consists of corn kernels sautéed with shrimps, in a clear broth with spinach leaves and flavored with fish sauce (“patis”). Use either organic vegetable soup broth or rice wash for the broth. I took advantage of the sweet corn season this summer for this recipe. This is the perfect comfort food  any time. I make a large cauldron of Suam and we enjoy it for many memorable meals. This is an Asian In America recipe. Serves 2 for a meal or up to 4 as a soup starter.
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Suam na Mais Corn Soup
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 8kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large Stockpot


  • 4 whole ears of corn, husks peeled, silk tendrils removed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 pound fresh shrimps shells peeled, tails and heads removed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely sliced fresh ginger sliced in thin strips
  • 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • 8 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 3 cups kangkong (water spinach) or use regular baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • for serving: boiled rice


  • Prepare the corn. Peel down the husks and remove the silky tendrils. Place the corn cobs in a large stockpot filled with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat to a medium and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the corn. Turn off heat. Cover the stockpot and set aside.
  • Prepare the shrimps. Wash and remove shells, tails and heads. Sprinkle lemon juice on shrimps and set aside.
  • Remove the cooked corn from the stockpot. Place corn cobs on a colander for a few minutes to drain excess liquids. Using a sharp knife, strip the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside.
  • Using the same large stockpot over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. Saute the garlic, onions and ginger for about 2 minutes till onions are translucent.
  • Add the peeled shrimps and fish sauce (“patis ). Pour the vegetable broth or rice wash.
  • Add the corn kernels. Bring liquid to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. Continue till shrimps turn a pink-orange hue and the corn kernels are soft. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Lastly, add the spinach and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook’s comments: in the Philippines, “dahon ng sili” (leaves from the chili plants) are added to the simmering broth. Here in the USA, I don’t have access to ‘dahon ng sili’ so I use water spinach or ‘kangkong’.
  • Recipe tips: to obtain rice wash or "hugas bigas" -- when cooking boiled rice, pre-wash the rice grains in water and save the "second wash" for use as soup broth in this recipe. If not convenient, use soup stock in the same amount indicated.
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Serving: 1g | Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 582mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 5mg