Egg drop soup is associated with Chinese cuisine but, yes, it is also very popular in Japan. What sets Japanese egg drop soup apart from its obvious Chinese ancestor? The broth is made with dashi.
Dashi, of course, is a broth made with kombu and bonito flakes. One of the many things I learned by talking with shop owners in Nishiki Market in Osaka is that bonito flakes may be made with the light or dark meat of skipjack tuna and that they can be thickly or thinky shaved.
While you can do a short cut by using dashi granules to make Japanese egg drop soup, if you’re in the mood to make your own dashi, know that you can use light-colored bonito flakes for a lighter broth or darker bonito flakes for a more robust flavor.
Japanese Egg Drop Soup
- Pour six cups of water into a pot and add the kombu and bonito flakes.
- Bring to the boil, simmer for five minutes then turn off the heat. Leave to steep for 10 to 15 minutes then strain.
- Pour the strained liquid (that's your dashi) into a clean pot.
- Turn on the stove and pour in the soy sauce. Taste and add as much salt is needed to get a good flavor.
- If you're adding extra ingredients to your egg drop soup (mushrooms, seaweeds or vegetables), add them now.
- Stir in the starch solution. The broth will appear cloudy but, as it heats up, it will turn clear again.
- Simmer the broth for about five minutes then turn off the heat.
- Pour the beaten eggs in a thin stream over the entire surface of the broth.
- Leave to let the eggs cook in the broth before stirring gently.
- Ladle your Japanese egg drop soup into bowls, sprinkle in scallions and serve.