Bear Makes Brunch: Chinese Chicken and Corn Egg Drop Soup

Gung hay fat choy and happy Year of the Dog to all our Brunch with Bearees! Today is the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, but it is also celebrated in other countries. And today we want to celebrate it with all of you!

Part of the tradition of Chinese New Year is to clean your house and scare away all the bad luck, while making room for good luck and fortune to settle in its place. As we’ve mentioned in years past, it’s also the time of year to eat Chinese food with your loved ones! Although there are many delicious Chinese restaurants across the city, the weather calls for a night in with some soup. This traditional Chinese soup will warm your heart and is very easy to make, especially in large quantities to share with your family and friends.

Egg drop soup, also known as egg flower soup, is a popular American Chinese dish, often served alongside dumplings. The traditional Cantonese style is made with creamed corn, ground chicken, and of course, eggs! Although it is often served in restaurants as a favorite of young children, it is a hearty soup that makes a delicious meal for the whole family.

The ingredients are as follows:

4 ounces raw skinless, boneless chicken breast OR ¼ pound raw ground chicken
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese cooking wine (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground pepper (preferably white pepper although black pepper is okay)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 14.75 ounce can cream-style corn (NOTE: not golden corn, specifically cream-style!)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cold water
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten

NOTE: If you are making food for more than four or five people, consider doubling the recipe so that everyone can try some soup.

If you are using regular chicken breasts, cut the raw chicken into small dices (about ¼” thick) and then mince finely. Season the chicken with the soy sauce, cooking wine if desired, pepper, and a teaspoon of cornstarch.

Heat your soup pot over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir for 10-30 seconds until the chicken has been browned a little. If you prefer chicken to be slightly chewier, cook for longer, but the chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through at this point.

Add the corn, 2 cups of cold water, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil and stir thoroughly.

While waiting for the soup to boil, combine 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. I tend to use the same bowl that I used for marinading the chicken. Not only does it save a dish to wash, but it ensures that any bits of chicken left behind make it into the soup!

Once the soup is boiling, slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir for a minute while the soup thickens. Slowly stir in the beaten egg and remove the soup from heat. The soup is ready to eat!

My grandmother says that chicken corn soup is one that crosses generations, as the chicken and the egg meet together in the same bowl. As we enjoy our soup, we like to think about the ways in which the generations before us worked so hard in order to give us such privileges as we have now, and also remind ourselves what self-improvements are yet to come in the Year of the Dog so that we may leave such a strong legacy behind for the generations below us. We hope that the Chinese New Year is festive and delicious wherever you are, and that good fortune and good food are in the stars for you this year!