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Chinese egg drop soup

January 20, 2010

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Serves 4

This popular restaurant bowl is easy to make at home but the technique is a little tricky. The finished soup should have pale yellow petals of barely set egg floating in a rich chicken broth. To achieve this, you have to wave chopsticks above the surface of the hot soup with one hand while you slowly pour in the eggs with the other - without overcooking the eggs. If you’re starting with commercially prepared chicken stock, enhance it by simmering it for 10 minutes with several slices of fresh ginger and scallions, both bruised slightly with the flat side of a broad knife.

2 eggs
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch stirred in a bowl with 1 tablespoon water
Extra dark sesame oil (for sprinkling)
1 scallion, chopped (for garnish)
1. In a glass measuring cup, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the soy sauce, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Pour the dissolved cornstarch into the stock in a circular motion, stirring with a spoon. Continue stirring until the soup thickens slightly.

3. While the soup is very hot - not bubbling, but with steam rising from it - use a pair of chopsticks to stir the soup quickly clockwise so the liquid is swirling. Turn off the heat.

4. Wave the chopsticks back and forth horizontally over the pot as you slowly pour the eggs through them into the soup from a height of about 4 inches. This technique ensures that the eggs separate and set as they hit the hot liquid. Do not return the soup to the heat.

5. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with sesame oil and scallion. Debra Samuels