8 Egg Drop Soup Recipes For Simple, Quick and Nutritious Soups

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A collection of egg drop soup recipes featuring a variety of ingredients such as sweet corn, bamboo shoot, crab, and exotic ingredient like the black fungus.

Egg drop soup is a generic name for soups where eggs are added to soups. The chinese name is actually egg flower soup 蛋花汤 (dan hua tang). I wonder why this name is not more well known. Anyone knows?

Tofu egg drop soup. Photo by Phoebe Lim

It is one of the quickest chinese soups one can make. It is also one of the easiest especially if you are already good at doing the egg drop. Very suitable for busy working people who have very little time to cook but still want a healthy nutritious and visually pleasing soup for dinner.

Silky egg flowers

The most common complaint about this chinese soup is dry and rubbery egg flowers. Egg flowers are rubbery because they are overcooked.

The egg in this soup is over-cooked. Photo by Theresa Carpenter.

To prevent overcooking, turn off the heat right after dropping the eggs or remove the soup from heat before dropping the eggs. Do not worry about under-cooking the eggs. They cook fairly quickly. By the time you serve the soup, they will be just nice.

The second most common complaint is clumpy egg flowers instead of light fluffy strands. Actually, there is no right or wrong about the size of the egg flowers. Some like it big and some like it small. Personal preference reigns.

Having said that, if you are making a cantonese-style soup, you will usually want the delicate silky strands.

Big or small flowers

For big flowers, you don't have to beat the eggs. Crack and drop them into vigorously boiling liquid and let it cook for about 1 minute. You can keep the egg yolks intact as if you are making a poached egg. Or you can burst them with a pair of chopsticks. To prevent overcooking, "perform" the egg drop right before serving. Do make sure your eggs are already at room temperature.

For small flowers, crack the eggs in a bowl and beat to combine the egg yolk and egg white. But do not overbeat, that is, do not beat until they are frothy, just enough to combine them.

Stream the eggs into the soup liquid after removing from heat. Do not be too concerned that you must maintain a steady stream.

Experienced Chinese cooks use a pair of chopsticks to create a thin stream of egg to add to the soup. You can use a spoon to stream the beaten egg. Another way is to use a fork. Place the fork across the top of the bowl with the fork protruding slightly out and pour the egg mixture from there. It should stream out rather nicely.

Some people move the egg bowl around the soup pot to "distribute" the strands while others stream in a stationery spot and swirl the soup around to separate the strands. Both methods are fine.

You can spoon the beaten egg into the soup if you want but it might be a tad too slow.

Cholesterol

Some people are concerned about the cholesterol in eggs, it is okay to remove the yolks and just use the egg whites, especially for thickened soups. Egg whites should not be beaten too vigorously. Just beat to separate any parts that are thick. This recipe uses egg white.

There are now cholesterol-free eggs or heart-friendly eggs on the markets. I'm not quite sure how they manage to get the cholesterol out of the eggs but do check them out.

Clear or thickened

Egg drop soups can be either broths or thickened soups. Different regions in China have their preferences. As mentioned before, thickened soups usually come with small egg flowers.

Soup base

I fear I sound like a broken record. But I have to say this again. Do not use plain water to make quick chinese soups. Always use a soup stock either homemade or store-bought.

Common Ingredients

It is fine to have soup with only egg and chopped spring onions. This is the simplest version. There are some common ingredients that are commonly paired with egg drop soup and they are nutritious too. These include fresh tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, shrimp, fish and tofu, dried seaweed/laver 紫菜 (zi cai).

Dried seaweed goes very well in egg drop soup. Here are 3 recipes featuring it.

1. Seaweed and Egg

Laver is another name for dried Chinese seaweed. It is one of my favorite soup ingredients and it is full of vitamins B1, B2, and B12.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried Chinese seaweed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon chopped spring onions
  • 2 cups soup stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl
  2. Bring the soup stock to a boil in a soup pot
  3. Tear the seaweed into small pieces
  4. Add the dried seaweed and salt to the stock
  5. Cook the seaweed till they re-constitute
  6. Lower the heat and do the egg drop
  7. Stir gently to spread the egg flowers
  8. Remove from heat and pour into serving bowl
  9. Garnish with chopped spring onions and pepper
  10. Serve

This next recipe includes lean ground chicken. But you can use shredded chicken breast or some leftover chicken.

2. Seaweed and chicken

A simple home-cooked recipe. My mother used to make this soup to go with dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet dried seaweed
  • 100g ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 litre chicken soup stock
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion

Directions

  1. Tear the dried seaweed into smaller pieces
  2. Beat the eggs
  3. Bring the soup stock to a boil and add the seaweed, stir to break up any clumps
  4. Add a little hot soup to the ground chicken to prevent clumping and then add the chicken to the soup. If you are using cooked chicken, skip the first part
  5. Add the salt and cook the soup for about 2 minutes or till chicken is just done
  6. Do the egg drop and remove the soup from heat immediately after that
  7. Pour into serving bowl
  8. Garnish with chopped spring onion, pepper and sesame seed oil

Soft tofu has a delicate soft smooth texture. A coagulant is added to the tofu liquid and the liquid is poured into square molds and pressed lightly and allow to set. It is usually sold in squares soaked in water. It is a key ingredient in chinese soups, spicy mapo tofu and agedashi tofu.

3. Seaweed and Tofu


This egg drop soup recipe features dried chinese seaweed and soft tofu. A great combination and a cheap humble homemade recipe, healthy and nutritious.

Ingredients

  • 100g Chinese soft tofu
  • 20g dried Chinese seaweed (also known as laver)
  • 1 egg
  • 15g cucumber
  • 2 cups soup stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped spring onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of sesame seed oil

Directions

  1. Cut the tofu into thin slices
  2. Slice the cucumber into thin slices
  3. Tear the dried Chinese seaweed into small pieces
  4. Bring the soup stock to a boil in a pot
  5. Add the tofu and cook for about 3 minutes
  6. Add the cucumber slices and dried seaweed
  7. Add the salt and pepper
  8. Bring the soup back a boil
  9. Lower or remove from heat
  10. Do the egg drop to create flowers
  11. Pour into serving bowl
  12. Garnish with chopped spring onion and sesame seed oil

The last 2 recipes would work equally well if you leave out the seaweed.

4. Leftover chicken breast recipe

This is a recipe for a egg drop soup recipe using just the egg white and lean chicken breast.

Perfect for that leftover chicken breast that you had for dinner last night. No frills and even less fat. It should be done under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 egg white
  • 950ml soup stock
  • A small amount of chinese parsley or coriander
  • 2 tablespoon of cornstarch mixture
  • White pepper and sesame seed oil to taste
  • Cornstarch mixture

Marinate for the chicken breast

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cooking wine (optional)

Making the cornstarch mixture

Add 3 tablespoon of water (about 45ml) to 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir to break up any lumps. You can use cornstarch or corn flour or potato starch.

Directions

  1. Wash the chicken breast, remove the skin and cut into thin strips
  2. Add the marinate to the chicken strips. Mix well
  3. Bring soup stock to a boil, add chicken strips. If using leftover chicken, shred the chicken breast and skip step 1 and 2
  4. Stir the cornstarch mixture into soup
  5. Let soup come to a boil. Remove from heat and do the egg drop, stirring the soup gently in one direction
  6. Add pepper and sesame seed oil in the serving bowl before pouring in the soup
  7. Sprinkle chinese parsley or coriander just before serving

5. Fresh fish and soft tofu

Ingredients

  • 100g fresh fish fillet
  • 1 packet of soft tofu
  • 1 egg
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • 1 stalk of Chinese celery or cilantro
  • 5 cups of soup stock
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch solution
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the fish fillet and chop finely
  2. Wash the spring onion and chop finely
  3. Remove the soft tofu and cut into cubes
  4. Wash the Chinese celery and chop finely
  5. Peel the ginger and julienne
  6. Beat the egg lightly
  7. Heat the cooking oil in a wok
  8. Add the ginger and spring onion and stir fry for a while
  9. Add the soup stock and bring it to a boil
  10. Add the chopped fish, soft tofu and salt to taste
  11. Add the cornstarch solution to thicken the soup
  12. Stream the egg in and give the soup a few quick stirs
  13. Garnish with the Chinese celery before serving

I want to share 2 mushroom recipes here. One uses the traditional dried Chinese mushrooms and another uses the button mushrooms.

6. Mushroom and Tofu

This egg drop soup has chinese mushrooms, soft tofu and bamboo shoots. These ingredients give the soup a robust flavour and crunch.

It is not thickened using cornstarch which is a common chinese technique. All the julienned ingredients makes it a "crowded" soup.

If possible, try to find fresh bamboo shoots. I am not sure if it is just me but I find that canned bamboo shoots have a fairly strong scent that I do not enjoy.

Replace the chicken stock with a vegetable stock to make a vegetarian version.

Ingredients

  • 300g soft or silken tofu
  • 100g bamboo shoot
  • 50g dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g celery
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Soy sauce
  • 500ml chicken soup stock or vegetable soup stock
  • Sesame seed oil

Directions

  1. Slice the tofu into thin strips
  2. Soak and rehydrate the Chinese mushrooms, cut into thin strips
  3. Slice the bamboo shoots and celery into thin strips
  4. Beat the eggs lightly
  5. Heat the cooking oil in a wok, fry the bamboo shoots and Chinese mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes
  6. Add the soup stock and season with soy sauce
  7. Add the tofu and celery
  8. Cook for about 10 minutes
  9. Lower the heat and do the egg drop
  10. Remove from heat and serve with dashes of sesame seed oil

7. Button mushrooms and pork

We are familiar with the creamy button mushroom soup, but what about a clear mushroom soup. Thinly sliced and added to an egg drop soup. A very different take on this fresh mushroom soup.

Ingredients

  • 100g pork fillet
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • Quarter of a carrot
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stalk Chinese celery
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 500ml soup stock

Directions

  1. Wash the button mushrooms and slice thinly
  2. Peel the carrot and slice thinly
  3. Slice the pork fillet thinly and marinate with salt
  4. Dust thinly with the cornstarch
  5. Beat the egg lightly
  6. Wash and chop the Chinese celery finely
  7. Bring the 500ml soup stock to a boil
  8. Add the button mushrooms and carrot and cook till done
  9. Add the pork slices and give them a quick stir to separate
  10. When the meat turns pale, stream in the beaten egg
  11. Add the Chinese celery
  12. Remove from heat and sprinkle the sesame seed oil before serving

8. Black fungus and tofu

Dried wood ear. Photo by Phoebe Lim

Black fungus is a typical chinese dried good. It is also known as wood ear fungus. When re-hydrated, it expands.

The spiciness of the soup comes from the ground pepper and the tartness comes from the rice vinegar. You can substitute with apple cidar vinegar or any natural vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 50g soft tofu
  • 50g black fungus, already soaked and rehydrated
  • 2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Dash of sesame seed oil and salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixture
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 700ml vegetable soup stock

Directions

  1. Beat the egg in a bowl
  2. Cut the black fungus and soft tofu into thin strips
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a wok, add the spring onion and fry for 30 seconds. Add the soup stock and bring to a boil
  4. Add the tofu and black fungus
  5. Bring the soup back to a boil
  6. Add soy sauce or salt to taste
  7. Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the soup
  8. Remove from heat and do the egg drop
  9. Place the rice vinegar and pepper into the serving bowl, pour the soup in and mix
  10. Add the sesame seed oil and serve

The eight recipes here feature a range of egg drop soups and the common ingredient combinations. I hope you try out some of these recipes especially the ones with the slightly exotic ingredients. One of the best ways to experiment with an ingredient that you are unfamiliar with.

Happy Souping, Phoebe