Eat this classic Chinese soup with wispy strands of egg—whenever you want, in no time at all.
Egg drop soup is a classic that you’ll find it on almost every Chinese takeout menu—but you won't get the same soup from restaurant to restaurant. Because it’s a classic, it’s going to have many variations. The Chinese name for egg drop soup (蛋花汤) literally translates to “egg flower soup.” The flower refers to the way the eggs look when it spreads out thinly and feathers into little wisps.
There is probably no one “authentic” recipe to point to as authentic—there are just too many possible customizations, and every restaurant (and family) will make this soup in their own way.
At the very simplest, there will be water, seasoning, and egg. With tomatoes flooding the market stands this summer, I decided to include them in my version. In the winter, though, I ike to omit the tomato and add some shiitake mushrooms instead. There are also recipes that incorporate seaweed, corn, carrot, or spinach in lieu of tomato. Hot and sour egg drop soup is another popular rendition.
Generally, I’ve found that the egg drop soups in Chinese restaurants are very thick, but I prefer mine to be more runny, with a bit of thickening. I just don’t want to drink a sauce. I’ve also seen recipes that use chicken broth in place of the traditional water, but I find it overpowering.
Serve hot, and season to your preference!
Serves 2 to 4
Vegetable oil, for stir-frying
2 tomatoes, diced
4 cups water
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Sesame oil, for drizzling
1 stalk scallion, chopped thinly
Photos by Betty Liu of Le Jus D'Orange