Dropping eggs into soup with chicken stock gives you something to crow about


January 20, 1993|By Beth Hillson | Beth Hillson,Contributing Writer

The Chinese calendar says it's time to welcome the Year of the Rooster. Anyone can help celebrate the Chinese New Year -- you don't need to be Oriental. It's fun to decorate your dining area with colorful streamers and serve Chinese recipes that you've made yourself. Chinese corn soup is an easy one and guaranteed to give friends and family something to crow about.

For a complete feast, serve this soup with fried noodles, egg rolls, and pot stickers (all available in Oriental markets and the last one can also be found in the freezer of your local supermarket) Be sure to give everyone his or her own set of chopsticks.

Kids 9 and older can make this soup without any help. Younger children can pour the opened cans into the saucepan, beat the eggs and add the onions and ham.

A word of caution for all chefs: Use a large pot so the liquids will not boil over. Gently spoon ingredients into the hot soup so the liquid doesn't splash and burn you. All chefs should be careful handling sharp knives.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Do ahead: Up to one day ahead, cut the ham and green onions, set in small cups, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Soup may be made a few hours before serving. Reheat over low heat just until steamy.

Chinese corn soup

Serves 6 to 8

1/4 pound thin-sliced smoked or boiled ham

2 green onions

2 13 3/4 -ounce cans chicken broth

1 15-ounce can cream-style corn

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water

2 eggs, beaten with a fork

1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil (available in many supermarkets)

salt and pepper to taste

Cut the ham into thin strips (about 1/8 -inch wide). Cut off the roots of the green onions and the top 4 inches of the dark green part and throw them away. Chop the rest of the green onion and save it.

Open the cans of chicken broth and the corn and pour them into the saucepan. Mix and place the pan on the burner. Set the burner on medium high and let soup heat until it begins to bubble. Add the sugar and the cooking sherry and mix. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and stir while soup bubbles. When it thickens very slightly and becomes creamy looking (about 2 minutes), use a potholder to take the pot off the burner. Immediately pour in the eggs. Count to 20, then move the ladle through the soup once or twice. Don't stir the soup, just wiggle it so the eggs become long yellow strands. Add the ham, green onions and sesame oil. Taste and add salt and pepper if you wish. Spoon soup into six or eight small bowls and serve.

Tips: Once the eggs are added, don't mix the soup, or the eggs will blend into the liquid and it will become very cloudy. You may double or triple this recipe if you wish.

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