Whenever I’m a bit under the weather nothing makes me feel better than egg drop soup with extra ginger. The spiciness of the ginger really opens up my sinuses and settles my tummy. Plus I just love the flavor combos with the silky cooked egg and warmly seasoned chicken. Anyway, onto the cooking! I usually start by grating up my ginger. This used to be a really onerous task that put me off making this soup. But ever since I got my I See Spain grater bowl and plate I have been itching to make this soup.
I grated down a whole knob of garlic in next to no time. When I’ve used graters or my microplane in the past I feel like it takes forever to make even a little dent in your ginger. And I hate getting out the blender to blitz up a knob of ginger because it clutters up my limited counter space and adds a bulky item to my sink. Anyway, now it’s time to season my chicken. I do this first so that it has some time to marinade while the veggies cook. You could cube up your meat but I prefer the thin slice method. Go against the grain with a very sharp knife and you will get through all your breasts (or things if you desire) very quickly.
Now it’s time to marinade! I use the ginger I ground in the beginning as well as garlic I ground up in the same dish. And then my dry spices; salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and asian five spice. And then a couples of splashes of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.
Once you have everything added to your chicken you want to give it a very good mix and let it rest while you go on to the next step.
Once you have your chicken marinading it’s time to get your soup pan heating. I use a dutch oven because I like the nice consistent heat it gives. I have dreams to one day own a Le Creuset dutch oven, but for now my target one serves me very well. But, I digress. Onto the obligatory vegetable photo shoot!
You want these to gently caramelize while you get the rest of your ingredients ready. A key to a good onion based soup is to really give your onions time to cook. This can take, at a minimum, 20-30 minutes and requires oils with a higher smoking point. I’ve recently started using avocado oil because it’s has similar healthy properties to EVOO but has the needed high smoking point. I also put in a splash of sesame oil because I love the way it smells. Even though I know it’s more of a Japanese thing than Chinese.
I can not stress enough how important cooking your onions all the way down is. I know it’s tedious and I know you think they are done. But they aren’t. Give them that extra ten minutes. Your mouth will thank you.
In order to not loose patience with my onions I usually reserve some of my prepping tasksfor the time that they will be cooking. In this case I grated up some more ginger and garlic, which doesn’t take very long thanks to the I See Spain grater plate. Also, it could have been done when I initially grated up the ginger and garlic. I just love using it so much that I didn’t mind the extra step. And since I had some time to kill I had a lovely photo session with my shiitakes.
Wipe your mushrooms down, don’t rinse them as this makes them slimy. Then just cut them into thin strips. I include the stems. For those of you that don’t like mushrooms you can opt not to include them or swap them out for baby corn or bamboo shoots.
Once your onions are cooked things start moving along pretty quickly. Turn your heat all the way up and add in that extra garlic, ginger and some salt and pepper to season your onions. You don’t want these to cook too long and burn so immediately add in your chicken and give things a very good stir.
Your chicken will probably start to break up. This is perfectly fine and to be expected. You can even use your spatula to break up some bigger pieces. The idea is to have small spoon sized morsels of chicken. Keep moving the chicken around until it is fully cooked and starting to dry out.
Don’t worry about things sticking to the bottom of the pan. We are going to get this off in a bit. First add in your mushrooms and let them cook down, lower your heat to medium. and start adding in small splashes of chicken stock to deglaze the bottom of your pan.
Once you have your pan nicely deglaze add in the rest of your stock and let it simmer for as long as you can. I usually like it to have a couple of hours so that all the flavors can marry together. Taste, taste, taste to make sure things are coming together the way you want!
Once you have your soup where you want it bring it back up to a roaring boil and get ready to add in your eggs. Whisk them up in a measuring cup with salt, pepper and a pinch of your asian five spice. I couldn’t find my measuring cup so I used a gravy boat.
The key to this is to keep your soup moving and pour slowly. Normally this is something that I can do on my own but because I wanted to get a boomerang I asked Lloyd to help. So now, if you ask him, he made this soup. You don’t see my hand moving the spatula but I should have been. Moving your soup around ensures nice stringy bits of egg as opposed to clumps of scrambled eggs.
The eggs cooks almost instantly so as soon you pop that in you can turn the heat off and serve. We are always looking for low carb alternatives so instead of fried wonton strips we topped our soup with bean sprouts which are just as crunchy and don’t get as soggy when sitting in the soup.
I also sprinkle on some scallions because I like that little pop of green as well as the fresh tangy, onion taste it adds to the flavor.
Serving is up to you though. If you want to top it with water chestnuts and wontons than go for it! You do you!
I used about 2 lbs of meat because I knew we would eat this all week long. So this recipe feeds 4-6. But feel free to half this to something more manageable. Or double to feed a large group.
- 1 knob of ginger, grated
- 4-5 grated cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsp asian five spice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp crushed red peppers
- 1 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 1 large white onion
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 2 boxes of unsalted chicken stock
- Excess ginger and garlic reserved from marinade
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1 bunch of scallions
- Bean sprouts
- Thinly slice chicken breasts and toss together with marinade ingredients. Reserve about a teaspoon of grated garlic and ginger. Set chicken aside to marinade.
- Dice one large white onion and cook on a low heat in oil with a high smoking point and a dash of sesame oil.
- Julienne shiitake mushrooms.
- Once onions are fully cooked. Turn heat up and add reserved ginger and garlic to pan.
- Immediately follow with marinaded chicken strips and stir frequently. Chicken will begin to break up.
- Once chicken is fully cooked and starting to dry out turn your heat down to medium and add in mushrooms. Incorporate completely.
- As mushrooms begin to shrink and sweat start deglazing your pan with the unsalted chicken stock by adding in small amounts and scraping the bottom.
- Once fully deglazed pour in the rest of the stock and let simmer for 1-3 hours. Taste during this time to help balance flavors.
- Beat and season eggs with salt, pepper and a pinch of asian five spice.
- When ready to serve bring soup to a roaring boil and slowly pour in your beaten eggs while constantly stirring the soup.
- Serve hot with scallions and bean sprouts for garnish.