Seaweed Egg Drop Soup

I'm interrupting my Shanghai posts to bring you this seaweed egg drop soup. This is one of those dishes I rarely ate at home growing up (for some reason my mother never made it) but would slurp with delight at restaurants. The simple combination of seaweed shreds and egg makes for great, light comfort food. And it's an easy way to load up on iron.

After a long absence (several months or years, I don't recall), seaweed and egg drop soup has made a sudden comeback in my life. It all started at Jia Jia Tang Bao, where I ordered it to go with soup dumplings because the only other soup choice was chicken and duck blood soup. Then I started seeing it, and having it, at various cafés in Beijing. Then I thought, why not make it at home?*

I like mine with a lot of seaweed, more than most restaurants normally use. A little extra iron, vitamin C, magnesium, and other vitamins can't hurt. (But you can always use less seaweed, like 1 ounce instead of 2 for every 3 cups of liquid.) Good homemade stock is also critical, since the resulting broth has very few other flavorings. To make this soup meatier and more substantial, you can also add minced pork or sliced shiitakes. But the basic version is one of the simplest Chinese soups you can make, and with very few ingredients.

*I have to admit the soup shown in the photo is from JJTB. My photos of the homemade version came out too dim. Damn bad lighting!


Seaweed Egg Drop Soup 紫菜蛋汤

Serves 2

3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock 1 to 2 ounces dried seaweed (the thin, flaky, purplish kind) 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 ounce water Sea salt and pepper to taste 2 eggs, lightly beaten Optional garnish: scallions, thinkly sliced

Bring stock to boil. Reduce to simmer and add seaweed and ginger. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until slightly thickened. Adjust taste with sea salt and pepper. Slowly pour in eggs and whisk with a fork. Egg strands should resemble thin ribbons (pouring too fast will result in clumps.) Garnish with optional scallions and serve immediately.