Friday, January 4, 2013

Pining for Asia: Seaweed Egg Drop Soup

Cheesin' at the Great Wall of China
Last July I spent an entire month traveling China and Taiwan with my sister. My trip to Asia was an incredible, whirlwind experience that I can never recreate. However, what I can do my best to replicate is (arguably) the most exciting part of the trip; the food!

Now that I have completely outed myself as a foodie, I can freely describe some the meals I've been longing for since coming back home to Jersey. Among the top ten are stinky tofu, milk tea, hot pot (an incredible Asian rendition of fondu), and seaweed egg drop soup. More specifically, the seaweed egg drop soup we enjoyed while antiquing in downtown Beijing and which has haunted my dreams since August. Feast your eyes on this magical meal:

The magical soup in question is on the right.

It has the effect of comfort food, but with a beautiful array of Asian flavors that make me hungry just thinking about them. After discussing recently with my sister how much we both miss this particular dish, I decided to give it a try. Here's what I came up with as the closest match.

Note: do not be afraid of seaweed! This is a great introductory seaweed recipe for anyone tentative about the stuff. You can include as much or as little as you like: just adjust the salt and broth accordingly.


7 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)

2 cups of water

A few good grinds of black pepper

Half teaspoon white pepper

One teaspoon of crushed red pepper

Half teaspoon ground ginger

Half of one large onion, diced

2 cups of dried seaweed, cut into long thin strips

3 eggs, beaten


Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large pot on high heat. I cheated and used bouillon cubes, but you can use whatever you want. Add all ingredients except for the eggs and reduce to medium heat. Stir constantly for one or two minutes. While pouring the eggs in SLOWLY, whisk the soup constantly. If you pour too quickly you'll wind up with big clumps of egg. Which is fine if that's what you want. I was going for authenticity so I wanted the thin strands like I originally experienced in Beijing. Be sure to taste the broth and adjust your spices to your preference! If you used less seaweed you may want to add a dash of sea salt. Leave on low heat for about 45 minutes to allow the onions to soften and all the wonderful flavors to meld. Then serve it up with some sesame crackers and green tea!

The end result with my failed photo skills:

A close second by comparison!

I'll always miss my trip to Asia, the amazing experiences I had, and the exotic foods I had the opportunity to try. But maybe, just maybe, with some more experimenting in my kitchen, I'll miss the food a little bit less!


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