Corn and Spinach (Suam) Soup

When I was growing up, this was our fall back soup. When my Mom or our help either runs out of ideas or time to make something elaborate for dinner, you can be certain – Suam na Mais or Corn Soup would be on the table. Don’t get me wrong, I never had any issues or bad feelings about this soup even though I have had this so many times. In fact, I actually miss it as my Mom (or our former helpers) are not here to make this soup for me. This time, I have to make it for myself and my family.

The good thing is that this is such a simple recipe that anyone can make it. This particular version relies on frozen and canned corn kernels rather than the traditional way of using all fresh ingredients as it’s not always possible to get fresh sticky white corn. But if it’s summer time and there’s lots of corn available – feel free to use fresh corn and simply scrape the kernels from the cob using a knife. You would taste the difference as you will get all that juice from the fresh corn as well. But don’t despair if there’s no fresh corn available – the canned or frozen ones are fine, too. The added fish sauce and ginger really livens up the flavor. The local version calls for Malunggay (Asian Horseradish Tree) leaves to be added. Here I add spinach instead as that’s easier to find.

If you’re in the mood for trying a new soup recipe then certainly make this one. This is the kind of soup that you can enjoy all year through – use fresh corn in the summer (preferably the sticky white corn) or frozen and canned corn in the winter. Enjoy on its own or with some rice.

Corn and Spinach (Suam / Swam) Soup

By: Manila Spoon

April 8, 2015

With corn, spinach and meat and flavored with ginger for extra zing, this simple soup is tasty, healthy and easy to make.


  • 1 lb ground Beef or Pork
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 inch-Ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce, or to taste
  • 6 cups Beef broth or Water
  • 1 cup (or 1 small can) cream style-Corn
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (unthawed)
  • 1 (10 oz) pack Spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the ground pork or beef in a large pan. If your beef is extra-lean heat a little oil first. Stir to cook until the meat changes its color and starts releasing its fat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion and ginger. Cook until the onions are soft. Season with a little pepper and fish sauce.
  3. Add the broth or water. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

    Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir the spinach and cook just until wilted.

    Correct the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed. 

  4. Ladle into bowls and serve hot. You can have the soup on its own but in our house we have it with  rice naturally. 🙂

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes

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  1. April 8, 2015 / 2:04 pm

    I love adding spinach to my soups, and this combination of ingredients sounds amazing! The fish sauce is a terrific flavor enhancer–yum!

    • April 8, 2015 / 8:59 pm

      That is so true Liz, anything can be made better by a little fish sauce – so much better than just plain salt. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. April 8, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    I love fish sauce added to dishes. It is a surprising flavor and people never know what that flavor is.

    • April 8, 2015 / 9:11 pm

      In every dinner table in the Philippines there's always fish sauce on the side – also used as a dipping sauce. We cannot live without it and you're right – it makes anything tastes better but no one would have a clue as to where it's coming from. 🙂

  3. April 8, 2015 / 11:55 pm

    I love soup, and this looks perfect to enjoy in the spring and summer! The flavors sound delicious!

    • April 9, 2015 / 11:13 am

      That's right Marcie! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  4. April 8, 2015 / 11:59 pm

    What a great soup for spring! Light and colorful and so satisfying!…

    • April 9, 2015 / 11:13 am

      All that green spinach truly signals spring love! Thanks, Linda.

    • April 9, 2015 / 11:14 am

      Thanks, Adam! Hope you can try it. 🙂

  5. April 9, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    These soup looks delicious and full of flavor!

    • April 11, 2015 / 11:27 pm

      We do love this a lot, too! Thanks for stopping by Peachy. 🙂

    • April 11, 2015 / 11:28 pm

      Hope you can try it Kristel. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. April 11, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    What an interesting combination of flavors. The ginger and fish sauce add extra dimension. A lovely simple meal that can be prepared in minutes. Something we aal need. 🙂

    • April 11, 2015 / 11:29 pm

      Ginger and fish sauce really enhance the flavor of any dish. Thanks, Susan.

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