My mum’s egg drop chicken and asparagus soup is a perfect winter warmer or starter for any meal. This soup is a variation of the popular Vietnamese crab and asparagus soup – sup mung cua. We have replaced the crab for chicken which makes it incredibly simple and cheap. The broth is made from scratch so you know exactly what is in it!
One of the greatest things about being in an relationship is that you are exposed to different cultures and foods. The first time Steph ever had quail eggs was when she was at my house eating this very soup. True to form she devoured it without even raising an eyebrow. This is probably because it might have looked strange but tasted exactly like a miniature chicken egg.
However, when Steph decided to share her love of Chinese century egg with me, I hesitated. As I watched her smash those black coloured eggs like a savage I thought to myself “it must be good”. I mean no one eats like that without fully enjoying it. Ummm WRONG! For anyone who haven’t tried it yet, let me say century eggs are an acquired taste. Very very acquired.
Chicken Frames vs Whole Chicken
I always have this dilemma whether to buy a whole chicken or frames. This is because the grocers around my place sell chicken frames anywhere between $2/kg – $4.50/kg. I believe this is particularly expensive when whole chickens are sometimes on special for $3.50/kg. Of course, these aren’t the corn fed, organic or free range chooks but in my opinion it shouldn’t even be a contest.
In terms of flavour, whole chickens will produce a better broth. The only downside in my is what to do with the leftover meat. This is precisely the reason why I use frames for this recipe. I have on many occasions ended up throwing the rest of the chicken out after a week in my fridge. I feel absolutely terrible every time! So, if you are going to use a whole chicken, my advice is to buy a small size or have dishes in mind to use up the leftovers.
My Tips for Success
- If you need to quicken up the soaking of the dried shiitake mushrooms, then put them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the stalk and then cut the mushroom in half. Put it back into the boiling water. This will greatly hasten the soaking process.
- Whole chickens will make a better soup but the downside is that there will be lot of leftover chicken meat. Chicken frames do a good job and will not leave leftovers.
- It is completely possible to only use the meat off the chicken frames for this recipe. This will save you from buying a chicken breast.
- I prefer to use canned asparagus for this recipe because it gives more flavour. I know that sounds crazy but fresh asparagus does not work as well in this recipe.
- You must let the quail eggs cook in the soup for at least 15 mins so that it takes on the flavour of the soup. If you don’t, they will taste very bland and uninteresting.
- Only use cold water when dissolving the corn starch. If you use hot water, it will turn it into a paste which will not dissolve easily or at all into the soup.
- If you prefer a light coloured soup, then make sure to rinse and then squeeze the excess liquid from the shiitake mushrooms before adding them in.
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Egg Drop Chicken and Asparagus Soup - Sup Mung Ga
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced
- 1 can of asparagus (425 gms), washed and cut into 3 cm pieces
- 10 hard boiled quail eggs or 1x 425gm can of quail eggs, (Optional but highly recommended) (Available at Asian groceries)
- 1/3 chicken breast, shredded
- 1 large chicken egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 2 chicken frames, cleaned
- 2 L water
- 2 brown onions, quartered
- 1 knob of ginger, sliced / 30 gm
- 1 medium / large swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml of fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Coriander chopped
Soak the shiitake mushrooms in plenty of freshly boiled water for an hour.
Boil 2L of water in a large pot. Once the water comes to the boil, turn up the heat onto high and add the chicken frames. Allow to boil for 10 minutes and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Add all the chicken stock ingredients and the chicken breast to the pot. Once the water returns to the boil, continue to simmer on low - medium heat for 1 hr 15 mins. Every now and then remove the scum as it forms on the surface of the soup.
Check on the chicken breast after 15 minutes, If completely cooked through, then let it cool and then shred. Set aside until needed.
If you are using fresh quail eggs, boil them in a different pot on medium for 15 minutes. Set aside until needed.
After 1 hr 15 mins remove the chicken frames from the pot and strain the stock. Squeeze out as much liquid from the vegetables as you can.
Add the asparagus, peeled quail eggs, shredded chicken and shiitake mushrooms. NOTE: Before adding the sliced shiitake mushrooms, be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Allow the soup to develop the flavours for another 20 minutes on low medium heat.
Swirl the soup with a large spoon in a circular motion and then add the beaten egg.
Combine the cornstarch with cold water and add to the pot. Stir until thickened.
Taste the soup and adjust if necessary. Serve and garnish while hot.
Cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces will help the soup absorb more of the flavours.