Egg drop soup recipe is the easiest Chinese soup recipe to prepare.
Chinese restaurants usually have high-quality soup stock as the base of the soup. However, we do not have this luxury at home. But there is a workaround way. In this article, I want to share with you how I prepare egg drop soup at home with a quality comparable to the restaurant.
The home cook style Chinese egg drops soup is well-known wherever there is a large Chinese community. It is especially prevalent in America and has become one of the favorite Asian recipes on the menu along with other American Chinese cuisines like General Tso’s chicken and lemon chicken.
The egg drop soup can also be the first course of a western meal.
Note: It is also called Egg Flower Soup, the direct translation for the Chinese word 蛋花汤.
The two steps formula for the best egg drop soup recipe
There are two simple steps to preparing the easy egg drop soup- preparing the stock and forming the egg ribbons.
1. Preparing the Superior Stock 上汤/高汤
The most critical component of the egg drop soup recipe is to start with good soup stock.
Any famous Chinese restaurants will prepare the Chinese soup stock with a whole chicken, lean pork, and Chinese ham called 金华火腿, along with scallop, rock sugar, ginger, and white peppercorns. The soup is so flavorful that the Chinese chefs call it Superior Stock 上汤/高汤 in Chinese.
This stock is the foundation for a variety of dishes, which includes egg drop soup, hot and sour soup, shark fins soup, and soup noodles among others. However, the cost and time required are too tedious for any home-cooked.
A homemade version of the superior stock
By now you should have realized why is it so important to use the best quality stock. The foundation of the egg drop soup recipe is entirely built on the stock.
We are looking for a simplified version of this elaborate recipe. After all, the goal is to prepare egg drop soup, not for a lavish banquet. So here is my trick to take only half an hour to recreate a home-cook style superior stock. It may not be as good as the top-quality one that includes Chinese ham and scallop, but still much better than those from an ordinary Chinese restaurant.
Since the superior stock consists mainly of chicken and fortifies with the flavor of ham, you can cook the ham with the homemade chicken broth or store-bought chicken stock to produce a similar taste. If you can’t get Chinese ham, use bacon as the substitute. Of course, you need to use vegetable broth if you want to make it a vegetarian egg drop soup.
Add some green onions, fresh ginger, and white peppercorns (or add the ground white pepper at the end of the cooking) and simmer for half an hour. That is!
You will be surprised that the flavor is so close to any top-quality shark fin soup, or ‘Buddha jumps over the wall’ 佛跳墻 that you taste in the Chinese banquet and wedding dinner.
No MSG and a complicated list of spices
You do not need many spices to pep up the stock. Star anise and cloves are doing more harm as it is unnecessary and overpower the delicate flavor of the superior stock. Keep it simple by using only scallion, ginger, white peppercorns, and salt.
One important thing is that there is no MSG in making the stock for egg drop soup. I am running an MSG-free restaurant because that is not even a quick fix, but is just plain umani without any flavor.
2. Forming the beautiful egg ribbons (the right way)
Here are a few simple tricks in this egg drop soup recipe.
Use cornstarch to thicken the stock
The texture of the soup should be viscous enough to suspend the egg drops, but not turns into a gooey mess, Cornflour is the perfect thickening agent for this purpose.
It will thicken the soup so that the little egg flower (as the Chinese described) will be suspended and distributed evenly through the soup. Otherwise, the egg strands will tend to float to the top.
Cornstarch should be diluted with water twice its quantity in a small bowl to form a cornstarch slurry before adding to the soup. This method is to prevent it from forming lumps.
You need four teaspoons of cornstarch for one liter of soup to get the right consistency.
How to form the egg ribbons
The egg ribbons will transform an ordinary soup stock into an attractive appearance, with thousands of beautiful egg ribbons suspended in the soup. They will move around the bowl with the swirling motion of the spoon, like many small fishes swimming in the fish tank.
Making the egg ribbons is easy, but it tends to overcook and become rubbery. You can overcome this problem by adding one teaspoon of cornstarch to four beaten eggs. The cornstarch impedes the egg protein from bonding together and helps to prevent the egg from turning rubbery.
Following these steps to form the egg ribbons:
- Beat the eggs in a bowl.
- Add some cornstarch and combine well with the beaten egg until homogenous.
- Bring the stock to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to let the stock barely boil.
- Stir the stock quickly in a circular motion to create a whirlpool.
- Pour the beaten egg into the hot broth while the whirlpool is still spinning. Put a pair of chopsticks or through the tines of a fork at the edge of the bowl. Let the egg drizzle slowly to prevent the egg liquid from dripping in too fast.
- Let the soup sits for ten seconds to let the raw eggs transform into strands of beautiful egg flowers.
- Stir again to break up any large pieces of egg.
- Sprinkle some finely sliced green onion to garnish the soup.
- Stir in half a teaspoon of sesame oil (optional).
The best way to serve egg drop soup is when freshly made. You can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it. However, the egg will not be as smooth as it is fresh after reheating.
Egg drop soup is one of the easiest soups I can think of, but the variations are endless. Here are some suggestions to transform it into other delicious soups:
- Add some shrimps, squids, and surimi (a type of Japanese fish cake) for a seafood egg drop soup.
- Add some spinach for an egg drop soup with spinach, or add tofu for an egg drop soup with tofu. (Check our Miso soup with tofu here)
- Chinese hot and sour soup is one good example of how the basic egg drop soup is transferred into an elaborate full-blown meal.
- Use it as the base to make egg drop soup ramen.
- Add some sliced chicken meat to prepare chicken egg drop soup.
Now it is your turn
A beaten egg whisked into the soup at the end of the cooking session transforms an ordinary soup into a beautiful presentation with thousands of egg strands swirling through the soup.
Now it is your turn to test out this egg drop soup recipe at home. Let me know the result and share your experience by leaving your comment below.
Egg Drop Soup Recipe
This recipe explains two critical steps to make the best Chinese egg drop soup that many recipes ignored: How to make the best soup base and, how to form the beautiful egg drops that are silky smooth.
To make stock:
- 1000 ml (4cups) chicken stock
- 100g bacon
- 5 stalks scallion, green part chopped, white left whole
- 1 inch length ginger
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
To make soup :
Prepare the stock:
- Bring the stock to a boil in a stockpot.
- Add the bacon, white part of the scallion, ginger, and peppercorn. Simmer over low heat for half an hour.
- After half an hour, the stock has extracted all the flavor of the ingredients.
- Remove the solids. Strain and set aside.
Prepare the soup:
- Crack the eggs and combine with the corn flour.
- Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat.
- Combine the cornstarch and water until smooth to form a cornstarch slurry. Whisk into the stock and stir until the cornstarch is cooked and the soup is thickened.
- Reduce the heat the bare boiled.
- Stir the stock quickly in one direction to form a whirlpool.
- Drizzle the beaten eggs into the stock.
- Place a fork at the side of the bowl. Let the egg drizzle through the tines of the fork to prevent the egg liquid from dripping in too fast.
- Let the soup to sit for ten seconds to let the egg strands to form.
- Stir again to break up any large pieces of egg.
- Sprinkle with thinly sliced scallion and serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 216mgSodium: 1736mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/17/2019
Saturday 28th of May 2022
Can't wait to try this but before I do, can you clarify the cornstarch amount for thickening the soup? In one part of your blog you say 4 Tbsp for thickening - but your recipe says 4 tsp. "You need four tablespoons of corn starch for one liter of soup to get the right consistency." Recipe: "4 teaspoons cornstarch (mix with 4 tablespoons of water to thicken the soup)". Just want to make sure I know what I'm doing! Thanks!
Sunday 29th of May 2022
Hi Robin, Sorry for the mistake in the text. It should be 4 teaspoons of cornflour, mix with 4 tablespoons of water, then pour into the soup.
Tuesday 14th of April 2020
I added some carrots and some red pepper flakes for an added punch. It turned out great, although next time I think I’ll try using less egg, pouring the egg over the tines of the fork, and stirring more slowly when adding the egg. Mine didn’t make too long of ribbons although there are a few. Very yummy anyway!
Wednesday 15th of April 2020
Hi Arpita, I always believe the recipe is only served as a guide rather than a rule to follow. Explore ways to improvise it and make some changes to suit your taste. Happy to know that you like this kind of soup. KP Kwan
Sunday 24th of February 2019
I was dinning in Bakeroni, Mrs Kwan shared this website to us. You are a passionate chef, God bless you.
Sunday 24th of February 2019
Hi Jane, Thank you so much and hope you enjoy your meal :) KP Kwan
Monday 18th of February 2019
Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply any questions and comments as soon as possible.