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~ Chinese Egg Drop Soup that's Anything but Boring ~

6a0120a8551282970b017616a5cfbe970cUntil the recent past, I can tell you that I found egg drop soup to be kind of lack luster, and, quite frankly:  boring.  Don't get me wrong, I love Chinese food, strike that, I adore Chinese food, and have eaten it all around the world, including in China.  For quite some time, I would order egg drop soup in various restaurants, just to see if someone had a "House Special" version of it, to prove to me that I was missing the point.  It never happened, which is sad, because:  I love the look of authentic Chinese egg drop soup, with all of those lightly-colored whisps of beaten egg floating around in chicken stock, garnished with pretty, thin, light-green slices of scallion.  I find it to be a feast for my eyes, but not my palate.  As for Westernized versions that add cornstarch to thicken it, and, in many cases, contain nothing more than rubbery scrambled eggs?  Well, in my opinion, they just add insult to injury and those recipes get no sympathy from me.  

A bit about egg drop soup:  Egg drop soup, sometimes called egg flower soup is a traditional, simple to prepare, Chinese soup that is usually served in the Spring or Summer.  Beaten eggs are drizzled (usually over a pair of fast moving chop sticks) into boiling chicken broth that has been seasoned with black or white pepper.  As the eggs are added, they create silky strands that float of the top of the soup.  If the strands are not added correctly, a sort of egg holocaust occurs, equivalent to serving scrambled eggs in broth.  Scallions and tofu are the two of the most common additions to the soup, with bean sprouts, corn and/or mushrooms occasionally making an appearance too.  Traditionally, the broth is quite bland, which is supposed to allow the flavor of the eggs to shine through, and, here is where I drive my recipe cart off the beaten path:

I want egg drop soup that tastes as good as it looks.

I want egg drop soup with whispy eggs in a flavorful stock.

6a0120a8551282970b016300aa3420970d-800wiI my world, a good soup starts with a good stock.  As a child, I remember watching The Three Stooges  pour boiling water through a chicken carcass to make soup, and, in my opinion, canned broth is only one salty step above that.  

In my kitchen I make and freeze ~ Thai Chicken Stock ~, which makes a fantastic base for egg drop soup.  It's fresh, clear, and full of the traditional Asian flavors of soy sauce, ginger and white pepper.  That being said, it also contains traditional Thai fish sauce, lemon grass, kaffir lime and cilantro too, which just adds to the party in my mouth.  The day I took the leap from ordinary, bland chicken stock to my stock, I never looked back.  My husband and friends whole-heartedly agree.  You can find my easy-to-make recipe in Categories 13, 15 or 22.

PICT0002To prepare the egg drop soup:

6  cups Asian chicken stock

4  large eggs, at room temperature

4  tablespoons water

1  cup thinly sliced, light green scallion tops

~ Step 1.  Place the stock in a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan.  Note:  a shallow, wide-bottom pan is essential when it comes time to add the eggs.

PICT0007~ Step 2.  In a 1-cup measuring container, place the eggs.  Add 4 tablespoons of room temperature water.  

Note:  Experimentation taught me that adding a bit of water to the eggs makes them wispier.  

PICT0014~ Step 3. Whisk vigorously until smooth. You will have 1 cup of egg mixture.  Set aside.

PICT0020~ Step 4.  Bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat.  Briefly turn the heat off.  I find it easiest to turn the heat off, add some eggs, stir, return stock to a simmer, turn the heat off, and, repeat the process as many times as it takes to add the eggs (about 6-8 times).

Note:  The following is my method for creating whispy eggs.  Feel free to develop your own method, but, I can tell you that slowly drizzling the egg mixture into swirling or boiling water does not work.  It results in clumps of eggs rather than strands.

PICT0026~ Step 5.  With the heat turned off, using a fork dipped into the egg mixture, begin letting the egg mixture roll off the tines into the hot stock.  Stop when the eggs do not firm up on contact with the hot liquid.

Note:  This will start as drips, but as you get into a rhythm, it will be drizzling from the fork into the stock:

PICT0030~ Step 6.  Stir, in one direction only (clockwise or counterclockwise, your choice), and return mixture to a simmer.  Then, turn the heat off.

PICT0048~ Step 7. Repeat this process 4-5 more times, until all of the eggs have been added to the stock.  This will only take about 4-5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls & serve ASAP garnished w/scallions:

6a0120a8551282970b017616a659fc970cChinese Egg Drop Soup that's Anything but Boring:  Recipe yields 7 cups or 2-4 servings.

Special Equipment List:  3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; 1-cup measuring container; whisk; fork 

6a0120a8551282970b01630171a8fd970d-800wiCook's Note:  To try some of my other soups that are made with this very special stock, ~ Spicy Carrot-Coconut-Ginger Bisque ~, ~ Hot & Sour Prawn Soup:  Tom Yam Kung ~, and, ~ Glass Noodle Soup w/Petite Pork Meatballs ~, click into Categories 2 or 13.  Each of these is a "party in the mouth" too!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Pot Sets! Great minds think alike! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post... my recipe will not disappoint you!

Boring??? Quite the contrary! Your time and interest in campaigning for a tasty & delicious egg drop soup paid off with a perfection by your own creation. I, too, like egg drop soup, however, I can't expound upon my reasoning behind this opinion being that I shared your same disappointments...too salty, too greasy, tasted like cornstarch, or the dropped eggs were like rubbery scrambled eggs. I'm anxious to try your recipe with the tip of adding water to the eggs before dropping in the stock.

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