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. In truth, 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.
As for the egg, there are three steps to obtaining beautiful wisps:
1. First, your eggs must be thoroughly beaten, to the point that you can’t tell the difference between the white and yolk.
2. Second, when you stream in the egg, do it slowly and very gently. The hand stirring the soup must be slow and gentle as well. I once whisked it so vigorously with my chopsticks that I got tiny bits of egg that soon congealed into an unappetizing thick soup. Be gentle and give the egg room to spread out and blossom.
3. Third, make sure the soup is not boiling when you stream in the egg. Heat should be on low and there should be not one bubble forming on the soup. Otherwise, you may get clumps instead of wispy strips. —Betty
2 to 4
vegetable oil, for stir-frying
cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
Heat up a wok on medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil, and, when oil is hot, add in tomatoes and stir-fry for a few seconds.
Add water and bring to a boil. Then, turn heat down to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
In a bowl, beat the eggs so that you can’t tell the difference between white and yolk anymore.
Add in dissolved cornstarch, white pepper, sugar, and salt to the water/tomato soup, and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn heat to low and slowly stream in egg mixture, using your other hand to gently and slowly stir the soup in the one direction. The egg will spread out and begin to wisp and feather beautifully. When egg wisps float to the surface, turn the heat off.
Drizzle over some fragrant sesame oil and top with scallions.