Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chinese Steamed Egg Soup

I am jetlagged again - what else is new? And I am also very tired from a long spell of teaching. In addition, I am suffering from allergies to all the wonderful trees that are blooming here in the beautiful Northwest that I haven't gotten a handle on yet. So, I am needing comfort foods for a lot of reasons. When I feel like this, I go back to the foods my Mother made when I was a child. My favorite of all was Chinese Steamed Egg Soup. It is really like a savory pudding and is more known by the Japanese name: Chawan Mushi. Either version is wonderful and it is a delicious and delicate soup whether you use Chicken Broth - the Chinese way, or Dashi - the Japanese way. Since I often had upper respiratory infections and allergies, the smooth consistency of this soup soothed my sore throat then and still does today. I loved it when I had an upset stomach too although then I ate it plain. This soup is really just solid egg drop soup, but I used to call it Velvet Soup because I loved the texture so much. This is the perfect dish for an invalid,  or when you need a delicate first course for a Chinese  or Japanese meal.

Chinese Steamed Egg Soup

2 Eggs

10 oz. Chicken broth
1 green onion - green parts chopped fine
1 teaspoon Tamari (or Soy Sauce) for each bowl
Several Drops of Sesame Oil for each bowl

Optional:  1/4 cup chopped Chinese Barbecue Pork - Char Siu placed in the bottom of the bowl before adding the egg mixture.  

Beat Eggs with chicken broth until light and frothy. Pour evenly into two small heatproof bowls and place in already hot steamer. Steam for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove carefully and pour one teaspoon of Tamari (or Soy Sauce) and add a few drops of sesame oil into each bowl.  Sprinkle with the green onions and serve immediately. Serves 2.

For a seafood version:  

Steamed Egg Soup with Clams

Use one can of minced clams (I like the Snow brand).  Drain clam broth and reserve.  Divide clams into the two bowls.  Measure clam broth and add additional bottled clam broth to reach 8 oz.  Beat eggs into the clam broth and pour into bowls and steam as above.  When done, sprinkle with green onions.  You can also sprinkle with seaweed flakes or Nori Goma Furikake – a prepared mixture of Seaweed and Sesame Seeds - if desired. 

Optional Japanese seafood version:  1/4 cup of crab or small shrimp and use Dashi broth instead of clam broth or chicken broth.

Five Element Analysis

Eggs belong to the Water Element and steaming is definitely a water method of cooking so that element is well represented and the Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil add even more.  The chicken broth adds in the Wood Element and the green onions bring in the Metal Element. The Earth and Fire Elements are not present so serving it with tea and something sweet to make it balanced or add it as a primarily Water dish as part of a bigger meal.  

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