What is Egg Drop Soup and why is it so delicious?

Lilly Higgins: This is a nourishing traditional Chinese soup which can be made within minutes

Lilly Higgins’s egg drop soup

Lilly Higgins’s egg drop soup

 

Egg drop soup can be made in minutes with very few ingredients, it’s a fantastic recipe to have in your collection. The most basic version only has stock and eggs but of course there are countless additions that can be made. 

Some recipes call for cornflour but I think it gives a gloopy, murky quality to the soup and the silky texture of the egg is lost in the depths of the bowl. There is an argument that a little cornflour can help make the egg less rubbery by inhibiting the protein bonds, but when made properly on a gentle heat this won’t be a problem.

The traditional Chinese soup has a much thinner consistency and is not thick and cloudy. This simple soup can be made more substantial by adding thinly sliced mushrooms, baby spinach leaves, sweetcorn or tofu.

In its simplest form this soup can be whisked together in the time that it takes to make hot chocolate. It’s a really nourishing after-school snack but can be an elegant starter too: just add some crab meat with white pepper and extra ginger to make it really special.

Pork meatballs flavoured with ginger, chili and a little fresh coriander are incredibly delicious in this soup. 

Soothing

Adding ginger, star anise or Chinese five spice makes this a warming, soothing broth. You can make stock with these flavours by adding plenty of ginger and a few star anise to the stock pot along with the chicken carcass and any vegetables like celery, carrot or onion.

It’s always beneficial to have a stock with these delicious layers of flavour ready for adding to soups or curries. Just label it well. I always try to make my own stock whenever I roast a chicken and I’m always very grateful when I come across a tub of it in my freezer.

On one particularly busy Monday night, I had stock bubbling away in the kitchen and was doing about four things at once whilst chatting to one of my sisters on speaker phone. I then proceeded to pour the entire pot of stock through a colander and down the drain.

My precious stock was gone and I was left with chicken bones and boiled vegetables, leached of any flavour or nutrients. It can happen so easily. Now I make a point of placing the colander in a large bowl next to the cooker so it never happens again.

Ingredients and method

Serve 4-6

2 pints, Stock, ideally chicken but vegetable will be fine too

3 thick slices of fresh ginger

1 star anise

1 tsp Chinese five spice

3 Eggs

2 tbsp Sesame seed oil

3 tbsp Chives or small spring onions, very finely chopped

2 tbsp Toasted sesame seeds

Sea salt and pepper to taste. 

Pour the stock into a medium-sized saucepan, add the sliced ginger, star anise and Chinese five spice. Simmer the stock gently for about half an hour to let the flavours develop.

Crack the eggs into a jug and whisk till well combined. 

Finely chop the spring onions or chives. Set aside. When you are ready to eat remove the stock from the heat. Using a slotted spoon remove the star anise and ginger slices.

Carefully pour the egg into the hot broth, whisking all the time, quickly and thoroughly until thin ribbons of egg appear and all of the raw egg mix is added. Add the sesame oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and scatter the chives and sesame seeds over the top.

This soup doesn’t keep or reheat well so serve right away.

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