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Chicken cloud and egg crepe: they're light and mild Chinese soups.

Chicken cloud and egg crepe: they're light and mild Chinese soups

A departure from soup's more familiar appearance at the beginning of a meal, these broths from China are designed as palate cleansers, to follow the main course. At many Chinese banquets, soups served in this fashion are lean in body, mild and delicate in flavor. Here we offer two to try with your next dinner; offer as a first course, or serve after the entree.

Chicken Cloud Soup

1 whole chicken breast (3/4 to 1 lb.)

6 cups regular-strength chicken broth

4 slices fresh ginger (each about the size of a quarter)

2 green onions

2 large egg whites

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 medium-size firm-ripe tomato, cored and cut in 1/2-inch wedges

7 cups lightly packed spinach leaves

Bone and skin chicken. Reserve skin and bones; cut meat into chunks. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine 5 2/3 cups broth, chicken bones and skin, ginger, and green onions. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Lift out and discard bones, skin, ginger, onion.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine chicken, egg whites, 1/3 cup broth, sherry, cornstarch, pepper, and salt; process until mixture forms a well-blended, paste-like puree. (Or mince chicken with a knife; add egg whites, broth, sherry, cornstarch, pepper, and salt; beat with an electric mixer on high speed until paste-like.) Slide chicken mixture in a single mass into hot broth; cover and simmer until meat is white in thickest part (cut to test), 10 to 15 minutes. Push tomato and spinach leaves into broth; cook just until spinach is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

With a slotted spoon, lift chicken cloud into serving bowl. Pour broth and vegetables over chicken. To serve, break up chicken cloud with a spoon and put some into each bowl; add soup. Serves 6 to 8.

Egg Crepe and Vegetable Soup

6 cups regular-strength chicken broth

4 slices fresh ginger (each about the size of a quarter)

2 green onions

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 small kohlrabi (about 2 1/2 in. diameter) or 2 pieces (each 1 by 3 in.) broccoli stalk

3 large leaves napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots, drained

1 medium-size firm-ripe tomato, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Egg crepe noodles (recipe follows)

1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

In 3- to 4-quart pan, combine broth, ginger, onions, and sherry. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Discard ginger and onions.

Meanwhile, peel kohlrabi or broccoli and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible. Cut slices into 1/2- by 3-inch strips. Add kohlrabi, cabbage, and bamboo shoots to broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, uncovered, until cabbage wilts, about 1 minute. Add tomato and noodles. Cook until hot, about 1 minute. Add oil and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Serves 6 to 8.

Egg crepe noodles. Beat 2 large eggs with 1 tablespoon water. Over medium heat, set a 10- or 11-inch nonstick frying pan that measures about 7 inches across the bottom; when pan is hot, brush inside with salad oil. Add 1/4 cup egg mixture all at once; tilt pan to coat bottom with a thin, even layer. Cook until crepe feels dry on top, about 30 seconds, and turn out of pan; repeat process. Cut crepes into 1/2-inch-wide strips. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to next day.)

Photo: Cloud of chicken poaches in a lightly seasoned broth with spinach and tomato

Photo: Egg crepe noodles, tomato, broccoli, and bamboo shoots add color to lean, refreshing soup
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1987
Words:638
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