02 April 2011

Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup

Yesterday I felt like one of the Three Bears. On my right, George felt the soup had too much spice. I, in the middle, felt the spice was just right. Gavin, on my left, added a lot more spice to his soup.

What was all the fuss about? Just egg drop soup, Chinese restaurant comfort food for the sick or perpetually chilly. The reason this conversation was so odd was that all three of us enjoyed the soup—a lot. People went back for seconds. The recipe was even requested by Gavin, who is of Chinese ancestry himself and who professes to loathe restaurant egg drop soup because it has too much cornstarch and MSG.

In light of this strange turn of events, my advice is that if you have people with spice sensitivity, add a little bit less white pepper than the recipe requires, and place salt and pepper shakers on the table so that everyone can adjust for themselves.

I adapted this recipe from a non-vegetarian one by Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats (see link on the left). Imagine No Chicken Broth is in my experience the only store-bought vegetarian broth able to handle this kind of homey, broth-centric recipe.

Egg Drop Soup

4 Cups total Imagine No Chicken broth, divided into 1/2 Cup and 3 1/2 Cups
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (with a microplane is easiest)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 scallions, washed and sliced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 8-ounce package of shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten in a bowl

  1. In a medium saucepan, add 3 1/2 Cups broth, ginger, soy sauce, scallions, white pepper, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, strongly whisk together remaining 1/2 Cup broth with cornstarch. When the soup is boiling, slowly drizzle the cornstarch mixture in, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs, stirring lazily, the way a couch potato would. Immediately turn off the heat. You can serve this at once to the paynim horde… or reheat it later to excellent effect.
Serves 6 people.

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