In Chinese culture, soup might be enjoyed at the beginning or end of a meal. In my childhood home, we were lucky enough to have Chinese soup at the end of dinner every night. Tomato Egg Drop Soup is ubiquitous in Chinese households, with variations across regions. In Chinese, it is called 番茄蛋花湯 which translates literally to Tomato Egg Flower Soup, for the way the whisked egg “blossoms” like a flower as it is swirled into the hot soup. So poetic. My grandmother, Sarah, a retired teacher of Chinese literature who also penned a short story column in the newspaper as a side hustle, often remarked to me how rich the Chinese language is with poetic imagery and complex meaning captured in condensed phrases. I didn’t fully appreciate that as a child but I always felt that the name of this soup is an excellent example.
In a medium pot set over medium heat, drizzle oil and add diced tomatoes. Sauté about 4 minutes or until tomatoes are broken down and deeper in colour.
Add broth and water, and bring to a simmer. Add soy sauce, salt, sesame oil and white pepper powder. Re-whisk the corn starch and add to the pot. Let it simmer a minute to thicken slightly.
Make sure the broth is at a strong simmer, then drizzlee whisked egg in a thin stream while swirling the broth with chopsticks or a spatula to create the egg “blossoms”. Turn off heat right away.
Ladle into serving bowls and top with scallions.