If you know me at all you know how much I love crab — blue crab, dungeness, king crab, stone crab, whatever ya got I’ll eat! I love the sweetness of the meat, the fatty nature of the flesh, and the essential brininess of the crab that harkens back to the waters from which it first scuttled. Some people dislike the effort involved in cooking and shelling the crustaceans, but I for one believe that the hardest work yields the greatest treasures. Wow, that sounded like a fortune cookie! Which is apropos since I’m talking Chinese soup here.
The addition of sweet and delicious Alaskan king crab meat to classic egg drop soup elevates a pretty mundane (if yummy) soup born of cheap-and-easy, on-hand ingredients to something sublime, elegant, and thoroughly addictive. Sure, it’s pricier than just broth and eggs, but the end result is totally worth it. Especially if you’re feeding your wife’s food-obsessed Chinese family and you want them to think you’re awesome.
You will need:
- 2 large cooked Alaskan king crab legs, about 1.25 pounds
- 8 cups chicken broth (homemade is way better, but canned will do)
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 scallions
- 10-15 cilantro stems (cut from a bunch)
- 1 slice fresh ginger, about 2 inches long and a 1/4-inch think
- 7 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoon xao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt (maybe more or less depending on the salt content of your broth)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon MSG (very much optional)
- 9 large eggs
- additional salt or white pepper to taste
- cilantro leaves, for garnish
- sliced scallion greens, for garnish
Now do this:
Using a pair of kitchen shears clip the King Crab legs open and pull out the meat. Put the empty shells into a large pot and add the chicken broth, four cups of the water, celery, scallions, cilantro stems, and ginger slice. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the shells and aromatics for about ten minutes, very gently. Meanwhile pick over the crab meat, and remove any of the long, fibrous, plasticine crabs tendons that run the length of the longer leg-meat sections. Rinse off the crab and pick off any of spongey bits or tiny pieces of shell. Cut the crab meat into little chunks and set aside.
Now strain the broth through a fine-meshed strainer or cheesecloth and return to the stove. Bring the broth back up to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk the corn starch into the remaining cup of water and pour into the broth. Stir gently and cook the broth at a vigorous boil for about three minutes or until it thickens. Reduce heat to low and add cooking wine, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar, white pepper, and MSG (if using). Simmer for about ten minutes.
In a large bowl beat all the eggs with a fork. Bring the broth up to a rolling boil, turn off the heat, and using a ladle swirl the broth gently in one direction (I like clockwise). Using one hand pour the beaten eggs from the bowl into the broth in a steady stream. Use the other hand to continue ladling the broth gently clockwise. This will stretch out the egg proteins and create a nice, feathery egg-drop effect.
Add the crab meat and taste the soup for seasoning. Add more salt or white pepper as needed. Serve hot in small bowls with scallions and cilantro as garnishes.
You’re gonna love it!