How do you like your egg drop soup? Do you want the eggs wispy or chunky? What’s the trick for preventing the eggs from sinking to the bottom of the bowl?
The most basic is just clear broth and egg. To that, a wide array of ingredients can be added to create more complex soups. The Chinese bird’s nest soup, for instance, is oftens served as an egg drop soup. So is the crab and corn soup. In short, once you have mastered the art of making egg drop soup, you have a huge chest of soup recipes at your disposal.
But what makes a good egg drop soup? Some say that the true test is how wispy the egg strands are.
Others say it is a matter of preference because thicker strands of egg in the clear broth can be just as satisfying.
Here are a few tricks to master the art of making egg drop soup — with wispy egg strands or with chunkier ones.
2. The eggs have to be beaten well so that the mixture has a uniform consistency.
3. The broth has to be very hot. I prefer to pour the eggs right after turning off the heat, not while the broth is still simmering because I want the eggs to barely set — the strands are lighter and softer that way.
4. The beaten eggs have to be poured in a very thin stream.
Now, what’s the difference in procedure if one wants wispy egg strands rather than chunky ones?
For wispy eggs
Swirl the broth. While the liquid is in motion, pour in the beaten eggs in a thin stream. As soon as the eggs are in the broth, stir lightly with a fork.
And if one prefers chunkier egg strands?
No swirling. Pour in the beaten eggs in a thin stream. When all of the egg mixture is in the broth, count five to ten seconds, depending on how thick you want the egg stands, before stirring the broth lightly with a fork.
Try it. See the difference.
How to prevent the eggs from sinking into the bowl
Starch. You have to thicken the broth with starch. Tapioca starch and corn starch both work well.
How much starch?
That depends on the amount of broth. It’s a correct ratio trick. Not as much as when making a sauce, but just enough to give the broth volume. Not too little either that the broth remains too thin to allow the eggs to remain suspended in the liquid rather than sinking to the bottom of the bowl.
Generally, I start with a tablespoon of starch dispersed in a tablespoon of water for every two cups of broth. But that’s not a universal rule. The kind of starch you use matters. And quality of starch differs from brand to brand. If I use tapioca starch, I tend to use less. If I use corn starch, I use more. Whichever kind you use, remember to disperse in room temperature water before pouring into the broth. Otherwise, the starch will clamp.
When to add the starch solution
Definitely before pouring in the eggs. I prefer to pour in the starch solution (I know, in the United States, the mixture is referred to as “slurry” but I find that to be a ridiculous word so it’s a starch solution, period) a good seven to 10 minutes before pouring in the eggs. I stir the broth until no longer cloudy then I allow the thickened broth to simmer for at least five minutes to make sure that the starch is cooked through and doesn’t leave as powdery sensation in the mouth.
Can all-purpose flour be used instead of starch?
No. If you use flour, the soup will thicken but remain cloudy. It doesn’t matter how long you cook it, it will stay cloudy.
Updated from a post originally published in March 4, 2013