I used to dread egg drop soup (蛋花汤); I had countless bad, sticky, gooey egg drop soup made popular by American Chinese restaurants here in the US. When I was a poor and starving graduate student in the Midwest, I ate too much crappy Chinese buffets or lunch specials with endless supply of MSG-loaded egg drop soup. I was not a big fan of it.
But it all changed recently when I was in Shanghai, when I dined at Jesse, a famous local gem that serves exquisite Shanghainese fare. Their egg drop soup was superior with light and refreshing broth (no starch added!) saturated with the natural sweetness of clams. My co-worker and I slurped the big serving of egg drop soup dry; it was satisfying.
I have been making egg drop soup with clams since I came back. I try to replicate the taste and perfect the recipe, and I think I am getting there.
Try my egg drop soup recipe and say goodbye to the runny, tasteless, plain, boring egg drop soup you get from your Chinese joints. Say hello to a refreshing, comforting, and home-made egg drop soup that you will need to beat the summer heat. If you don’t like clams, you can add tofu and it works fine, too.
3 eggs (beaten)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 pound clams (rinsed and scrubbed)
4 oz. tomato (diced into small pieces)
1 stalk scallion (finely chopped)
Salt to taste
3 dashes white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
Bring the chicken broth and water to boil. Add the diced tomato into the soup and bring it to a quick boil. Add a thin stream of the beaten egg into the boiling broth by circling around the soup pot in a clock-wise manner until the eggs are used up. Wait for 1 minute or so until the eggs are cooked then add the clams and seasonings. As soon as the clam shells are open, add the chopped scallions into the egg drop soup. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
When you pour the eggs into the boiling soup, don’t stir the soup with ladle or it will break up the eggs too much.
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