Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup (鸡茸粟米羹)
July 24, 2021  Print
Right now is prime corn season, so I have been using corns in a variety of dishes. Today’s recipe, Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup (鸡茸粟米羹) is a Cantonese soup dish (粤菜) that is so delicious and easy to make. My boys love it so much that they always ask for more after finishing their first bowl.
Although it is technically an upgrade to egg drop soup (see my previous post on Egg Drop Soup), the main player here is actually the corn. The grated corn kernels fully release their sweet juice, adding natural sweetness to the soup. The small amount of whole kernels provide texture so that you can enjoy the full experience of both the corn’s sweet and refreshing juice and the corn kernel’s crunchiness. Chicken gives the soup more umami. But if you are a vegetarian or are out of chicken meat, you can just leave it out. Or you can substitute chicken meat with crab meat or even fish fillet.
I like my Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup semi thick, which reflects the Chinese name for this soup “羹” (literally translates to thick soup). But I’ve definitely had versions of this soup that were thicker or thinner than mine. So feel free to experiment by adding no water or adding more water after you try my recipe below and come up with your favorite state of texture.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-4 people
- 2 sweet corn cobs1
- ~3 oz (~85g) boneless skinless chicken meat2
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce salt amount by half if using table salt)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon + 2 cups water3
- a few minced cilantro leaves or green onions (optional)
- Use a heavy cleaver to chop the 3 oz (85g) of chicken meant into a paste and put it into a small bowl. Add the 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of water to the chicken paste, mixing well.
- Use a chef’s knife to remove 1/3 to 1/2 of a corn’s kernels from one cob in a large plate.4
- Use a fine cheese grater to grate the rest of the two corns cobs into a large bowl. Alternatively, if using a mandoline, use the thinnest or finest slicer setting to slice the corn. If using a blender, use the same method as step 2 to remove the rest of the kernels and put them in the blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and blend until smooth.
- Add all the corn kernels, corn paste, and juice from grating, along with 2 cups of water into a medium sauce pan, mixing a few times. Set the heat to medium. While waiting for the liquid to boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water to form starch water. Beat the egg and 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil thoroughly.
- When the liquid starts showing signs of bubbling, scoop out a few tablespoons of the liquid to the chicken paste, mixing well until the chicken paste separates into tiny minced chicken pieces (this ensures the chicken paste does not stick together when added to the boiling soup). Add the chicken to the boiling liquid and stir gently.
- When the liquid bubbles again, add the starch water slowly in a circular motion, mixing thoroughly (stir the starch water right before adding it to the soup to prevent any precipitation). When the soup thickens more, slowly pour the beaten egg into the soup, gently stirring the egg stream while pouring to spread the egg around.
- When the soup starts to boil again, turn off the heat. Add the minced cilantro leaves or green onions and the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt,3 mixing well. Scoop the soup into 4 individual bowls in equal portions and serve either warm or cold.
- Make sure you use sweet corn for this recipe. Remove all the husks and silk. If you can’t find fresh sweet corn cobs, use 2 cans of sweet corn (~8 oz each) instead and skip the water. It’s best to blend 2/3 of the corn kernels from the cans with a food processor or handheld blender before adding them to the pot.
- Any chicken meat works well as long as it is boneless and skinless. Trim the fat if any. Alternatively, you can also substitute chicken with a small amount of crab meat (or fake crab meat) or fish fillet. For a vegetarian version, skip the chicken entirely.
- You can use low-sodium chicken stock instead of water. If using chicken stock, do not add salt at the end.
- It’s totally fine if you don’t get clean cuts off the kernels. Simply use the cheese grater to clean up the remaining kernels during step 3.
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