This is a hardy soup similar to a hot and sour soup minus the hot and sour part. Of course, the flavors could be adjusted slightly and turned into a hot and sour soup. This soup has earthy broth flavored with ginger, shiitake mushrooms and other aromatics.
This recipe makes a big batch. There’s really no other way to have. We typically enjoy this soup at family gatherings and around the holidays. But it perfect on a cold rainy day and can easily be frozen and saved for another rainy day.
• Hot and soup – if you prefer a hot and sour soup – increase the amount of rice vinegar, soy sauce and some chili flakes.
• Short cuts – you can cut the cooking time in this soup by half simply by using premade broth. Add chicken breast and ginger. Let it and shred the chicken. Flavors will vary depending on the broth and make sure to adjust your seasoning accordingly as some broths are already seasoned with salt.
• Fish maw – my family enjoys this soup with fish maw (fish belly). The first thing my sister did when I dropped off a batch to her was dig for the fish maw. If you decide to add fish maw, which can be found in dehydrated form at the Asian markets, rehydrate it first before adding to the soup.
Quail Egg Soup
Time: 1 ½ hour
3 lb whole chicken
1 oz fresh ginger, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, quartered
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
A small bunch of cilantro stems (or a stalk of celery)
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 (15 oz) cans quail eggs
1 (8 oz) sliced bamboo
1 lb firm tofu
2 large eggs, beaten (plus more if desired)
¼ cup cornstarch + 2-3 tablespoons water (slurry)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Garlic chili oil
Fried red onions
Ground white pepper
• In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the chicken, ginger, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and cilantro stems. Pour water to cover the chicken and aromatics. Season with salt, sugar, and MSG.
• Bring to a boil and let it boil for about an hour. Make sure to skim the fat off the top of the broth.
• Remove the chicken and large pieces of aromatics. Turn the heat down.
• Shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Do not add the bones back in.
• Add the shiitake mushrooms, bamboo slices, tofu, and quail eggs.
• Make the slurry of cornstarch and water. This will help thicken the soup.
• Quickly drop the beaten eggs, making sure to stir as you add into the pot.
• Lastly, add rice vinegar to brighten the soup and finish off with sesame oil. You may have to adjust the seasoning if you added more water.
• Serve with cilantro, green onions, and other accompaniments as desire.