Quick and Easy Egg Drop Soup (蛋花汤 Dan Hua Tang)
September 26, 2020
I can’t think of a soup that is easier than Egg Drop Soup unless you are literally mixing hot water with soy sauce and vinegar (desperate times call for desperate measures). It is my husband’s go-to soup whenever we are in a Chinese restaurant in the US. When made correctly, the egg strands have a silky velvety look and taste, floating in a slightly savory soup.
At home, I usually make Egg Drop Soup with one or two more ingredients, like Tomato Egg Drop Soup, Seaweed Egg Drop Soup, or Corn Egg Drop Soup, all of which I will share in a later time. But Egg Drop Soup is really the basis for these and many other simple soups, especially if you are short in time.
This homemade version of Egg Drop Soup tends to be thinner than the restaurant version. Restaurants almost always add more starch to make the soup a lot thicker. They also add a lot of MSG to give the soup more umami flavor. I’m not against MSG, but I don’t stock it at home. So you might find this homemade Egg Drop Soup not as strong as the ones you had in Chinese restaurants.
To mitigate the lack of MSG, I normally use chicken stock as the base for the soup. You can certainly use water instead. The key to producing the velvety egg ribbons in egg drop soup is to add a little bit of starch water before dropping in the beaten eggs. The starch thickens the liquid and allows egg streams to float on top instead of falling to the bottom. Beaten eggs also need to be poured slowly in a circular motion and stirred gently to allow the streams to spread out.
Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2- 4 people
- 4 cups chicken stock or water1
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2-3 green onions (green parts only)
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or 2 teaspoons corn starch2
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- Pour the 4 cups of chicken stock or water in a small or medium sauce pan. Set the heat to medium-high. While waiting for the stock to boil, prepare the other ingredients.
- Slice the green parts of the green onions into thin pieces. Side aside.
- Crack the eggs and add the 1/4 of teaspoon vegetable oil to it. Beat the 2 large eggs thoroughly. The oil adds flavor to the eggs.
- Prepare the starch water by combining the 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch (or 2 teaspoons of corn starch) with 1 tablespoon of water, mixing well.
- When the stock boils, add the starch water, stirring to blend. Make sure to re-stir the starch water before adding it to the boiling stock as starch tends to settle quickly.
- When the stock boils again, lower the heat to medium-low or low, and slowly pour the beaten eggs into the pan in a circular motion to avoid overlapping. Use a spoon or chopstick to gently stir the egg streams while pouring to spread the eggs around.
- Raise the heat back to medium-high. When the soup starts to boil again, turn off the heat. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of table salt, the green onion pieces, and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil, mixing well. Add more salt to taste.
- I’ve made this soup with both water and chicken stock. They both taste pretty good. The ones made with chicken stock have more umami and have very similar taste to the Egg Drop Soups in Chinese restaurants. If you are vegetarian, use water or vegetable stock. Otherwise, feel free to experiment.
- Corn starch has more sticking power than tapioca starch, therefore I reduced the amount of corn starch by 1 teaspoon. If you want thicker soup, you can always add more starch water. It’s purely based on personal preference.