THE STORY: Tomato soup. I think this is probably a very common dish that has many iterations among cultures, generations and homes. Somehow my memories of tomatoes are always tied to my grandma who would often make this as either a soup or as a stew over rice. In the northern parts of China, tomatoes makes its way into a variety of dishes and is a very common ingredient. Nowadays, I love having this to accompany a hot winters meal. The cilantro is my own little touch but I think it goes perfectly to break up strong tomato flavour. Bonus points if it’s tomato season and you can use ’em from your garden!
INGREDIENTS: Serves 2
- 3-4 tomatoes
- 2 eggs
- 2-2.5 cups water
- cilantro / spring onion
- 1-2 tspn corn starch
- canola / cooking oil
- salt + pepper to taste
Optional: Substitute vegetable or chicken broth instead of water.
HOW TO COOK:
- PREPARE: Cut tomatoes into bit sized pieces, making sure to use a combination of juicy extra ripe tomatoes and some firmer ones. Beat eggs in a bowl. Mix cornstarch in a small bowl with a tablespoon or two of water to dilute and make sure there are no lumps. The thickness of the soup is determined by the amount of total cornstarch used and not by the amount of water used to dilute. Rough chop your cilanto and set aside for garnish.
- With a swirl of oil in your pot (medium high heat), cook your chopped tomatoes until they soften and it resembles a chunky sauce. You should hear a loud sizzle and see some shimmering action. If your tomatoes are sour, stir in a small amount of sugar at this stage.
- Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes or until your soup looks pretty consistent and well mixed. Tomato chunks should no longer be hard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cornstarch water and let simmer for another minute.
- Using chopsticks or a fork, stir the soup in a circular motion and slowly pour in the beaten eggs. Quickly turn off the heat to prevent over cooking the eggs but keep stirring for another 10-15 seconds.
- Garnish with cilantro / spring onion and enjoy!
TIPS & THOUGHTS:
- The trick to pretty fluffy egg pieces is a consistent stirring when adding the eggs but using a thickener in the soup also makes sure it suspends beautifully when your serving it or else it tends to separate from the liquid.
- You might able to try tapioca powder to substitute corn starch as a thickener. The only thing is whether or not the soup will remain thick when it cools down. I’m not 100% sure but feel free to give it a try.
- Do not try to be a smarty pants as add powdered corn starch directly into your soup because it will start to form lumps which are then incredibly hard to mix into the soup. Always dilute it with a small amount of water first then add to your dish. Take this from a former smarty pants.