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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Easy Tomato Egg-Drop Soup

DSC04479“It’s my own invention!”

Here’s a quick easy medium-hearty soup to go along with a rice-based stir-fry – especially good for a cold evening when there wasn’t much in the house beyond rice and tinned tomatoes… I improvised this, writing down what I did along the way so you could enjoy it, too (cuz I knew ahead of time that it was destined to be just as fabulous as it turned out to be!).

What’s in it:

  • 1 tin tomatoes (the big kind of tin – 700-something ml?)
  • 2 tins water or nice veggie broth
  • 2 cubes frozen ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp ch soup mix (omit if using nice veggie broth)
  • 1-2 cups of frozen corn kernels, depending on how much you like corn; I forget how much I tossed in
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, browned in wok
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (contains fish)
  • black pepper to taste
  • sriracha / hot sauce to taste, optional – OR red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (s/b a bit less?)
  • 6 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (I used lite = low sodium, just because we bought it by accident)

To finish the soup, you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp corn starch mixed well into 1/2 cup water until it looks like milk (this is called a “slurry”)
  • 2 eggs for dropping at the end – stirred gently in a cup (no bubbles)
  • Green onion, sliced into little circles – I only had 1 in the house, but more would be better
  • toasted sesame oil, to serve

Re:  the egg dropping part – if you want perfect, soft, silky strands instead of rubber blobs in your soup, it can be tricky, so read up before you begin.  Here's a guide to how to do it right.  If you really, REALLY care; sometimes, I don’t.

How to make it:

  1. On medium-high heat, bring to boil tomatoes and water / broth, along with soup mix if using.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and corn kernels and boil until cooked through.  If soup is too watery, boil down for a few minutes.  If it’s too salty, add a bit more water (I started with 3 tins of water tonight and it was too much).
  3. Add browned tofu, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sriracha / red pepper flakes, soy sauce, rice vinegar.
  4. Season to taste – I added a little more more rice vinegar and soy sauce, but then it was a bit too much soy, in my opinion.  Play with it; make sure the soup tastes PERFECT at this stage, because no more vigourous cooking will take place once the corn starch goes in.
  5. Almost at the end!  Turn down the heat to just below medium. 
  6. Stir in the corn-starch slurry until mixture bubbles and thickens slightly.  Please don’t do what every kosher restaurant around here seems to do, which is turn the soup to SNOT with corn starch (sorry, I know it’s a troubling image, but it’s true).  That said, I had to repeat this step because my soup was still too watery with 2 tbsp, so repeat as necessary.  As with all of my recipes, it’s more of a state of mind than an actual step-by-step procedure. ;-)
  7. Turn off the heat, but do the next step immediately so you don’t end up with raw eggs in your soup.
  8. Now for the egg dropping.  Have your eggs stirred and ready, standing by and pour them slowly (some people pour over a fork or the back of a spoon; I poured through a sieve) into the soup, while stirring continually in a single direction (not wildly or every which way) for a minute.  Observe that you need at least three hands for this step:  one to pour, one to hold a fork / spoon / sieve, and one to stir the soup.  Govern yourself accordingly.
  9. Cover the soup until you’re ready to serve it (I like to give it at least another minute to fully cook the egg).
  10. At serving time, sprinkle each bowl with a smattering of green onions and splash on a small dollop of toasted-sesame oil.  Chili oil might also be nice for this.

Enjoy!!!