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IMG_0151 Monday Night’s Soup Bowl was the Tomato Egg Drop Soup. I think it was a big hit and simply irresistible. This is a common soup in Vietnamese families, like what the  chicken soup is for Americans. It is very similar to the Chinese Egg Drop soup in that it has the ribbony chiffonlike eggs and nice clear broth – add in the fresh tomatoes and ground pork to make it Vietnamese.

IMG_0150IMG_0148 A couple of years ago, I wrote about Vietnam- food and country. It was one our family’s favorite country to learn about:

“Simply, artlessly, candidly, straightforwardly, unaffectedly, unpretentiously, without any elaboration, is the only way to describe the feelings I have when cooking Vietnamese food. The author of my new cookbook,  Andrea Nguyen, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors” (not “in”, but “into”) has a way of pulling you into Viet cooking and feeling like you have been doing this all your life. No boundaries, no foreign ideas, just a fresh face on some time treasured ideas and concepts.This is not to say, that I have liked any other country we have been in any less, but this one is like art. I love art and the beauty that some artists convey with photographs, oil paintings, and sculptures. Food can be artistic and wholly beautiful and Vietnamese cooking captures the senses in a way that maybe I have not experienced before.”

IMG_0153IMG_0156IMG_0163Also, here’s what we had with the soup- I like to call them kitchen nibbles: egg rolls, those little crunchy things you put in Asian soups, cupcakes, celery-apple slaw,and berry biscuits. You never go home hungry and if you do it’s your fault.

IMG_0155IMG_0164I think you are going to like this recipe. These ingredients are not hard to find and you can make this soup quickly. It’s good, warm and comforting.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup (Canh Ca Chua Trung)

Serves 4-6 with 2 or 3 other dishes

1 1/2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

3/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you add chicken broth)

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/3 pound ground pork, coarsely chopped to loosen

5 1/2 cups water ( I used a mixture of broth and water)

2 eggs, beaten

5 or 6 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped

Black Pepper

In a 4 qt. saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Add the tomatoes and salt, cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until tomatoes have collapsed into a thick mixture. Stir occasionally and, if necessary, lower the heat to prevent the tomatoes from sticking or scorching.

Uncover and add the fish sauce and pork. Wield chopsticks or use a spoon to move the pork around the pan so that it breaks up into small pieces. This will make it possible to distribute the pork evenly among the bowls when serving. Add the water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, using the ladle to skim and discard any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the flavors have developed and concentrated sufficiently to produce a rich broth. If you are not serving the soup right away, turn off the heat and cover.

Just before serving, return the soup to a simmer. Taste and add extra salt or fish sauce, if necessary. Turn off the heat. Pour the beaten egg onto the soup in a wide circle, and then stir gently to break it up into chiffonlike pieces. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and generous sprinkle of pepper and serve immediately.

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