Simple and flavorful, this Asian-inspired Nourishing Egg Drop Soup is light, yet very satisfying. This recipe uses high-quality boxed chicken stock, but employs a few shortcuts to boost the flavor and health benefits to resemble homemade bone broth.
High-quality chicken stock or broth, whether purchased or homemade, is a low carb pantry essential. I should note that, while there are slight differences between stock and broth, they are the same for all practical purposes. So, I use the terms interchangeably.
In this recipe, I use high-quality boxed chicken stock. In addition to infusing the stock with aromatics, I incorporate an unusual ingredient: gelatin or collagen hydrolysate. Collagen has numerous health benefits and is abundant in homemade bone broth. Adding collagen to boxed chicken stock not only increases the health benefits, it improves the body and mouth-feel to mimic bone broth.
I use a collagen hydrolysate, which has the benefit of dissolving easily in cold or hot liquids. I usually have it on hand, as I often add it to my smoothies. Plain, unflavored gelatin will work, however. You’ll simply need to ‘bloom’ it: sprinkle into a couple of tablespoons of water and let sit for 3-5 minutes before stirring into the hot stock. If you’re using homemade chicken stock or bone broth, you can leave out the collagen/gelatin, although it certainly won’t hurt to add it.
It goes without saying that homemade stock or bone broth is a better option than purchased stock, both in terms of nutrition and taste. While preparing homemade bone broth is not difficult, many folks don’t have the time or inclination to make it. It’s important to remember that “perfect is the enemy of good,” and sometimes shortcuts are not only the best we can do, they are better than many other alternatives. I will share my recipe for homemade stock another time, but today I want to focus on how to choose a high-quality, shelf-stable stock.
While there are a lot of choices of canned, boxed, and concentrated stocks on the market, not all of them are what I would refer to as high-quality. Often, they taste terrible: bland, vegetal, or salty. If they do taste “meaty,” it’s usually because of added ingredients such as MSG, yeast extract, and sugar. Some brands try to make up for the lack of meaty flavor by overcompensating with vegetable concentrates, but the result is vegetal-tasting. Of course, salt is a common ingredient to add flavor, but it can’t make up for poor quality.
My favorite boxed stock is Kirkland (Costco) brand’s Organic Chicken Stock. Whatever stock you choose should have these features in common with the Kirkland product:
- Natural ingredients — ones that you recognize — such as chicken, vegetables, spices, and water. An “organic” designation is nice, but not as important as the ingredients themselves.
- Labeled “gluten-free.” Unfortunately, gluten can be hidden in many processed ingredients, so I want the manufacturer’s assurance that it is gluten-free.
- No sugar added, and 0-1 carbs per 8 ounce serving (Kirkland has 0). More than that indicates an excessive amount of vegetables used or perhaps some kind of added sugar.
- Moderate sodium. I don’t need salt-free, but I want to be able to reduce (cook down) the stock and not have it end up too salty. Kirkland brand’s has 440 mg of sodium per 8 ounce serving.
Another product I sometimes use is Glace de Poulet Gold, a concentrated chicken stock from More than Gourmet brand. It comes in a 1.5 ounce puck that makes 32 ounces (4 cups) when mixed with hot water. It already has some gelatin added, but I’d still probably add my own. The downside is that it I have to order it online, although I have seen some of their line at a few gourmet stores. Still, it is a good alternative.
With the growth of the ancestral/whole foods movement, some companies are coming out with bone broths. I haven’t tried any of them yet, however. When I do, I will report back. In the meantime, if you have found any that pass muster, please share in the comment section below!
At it’s most basic, egg drop soup is simply beaten eggs whisked into hot chicken stock, seasoned, and garnished. I add a few more flavorings than the classic to suit my taste. That is the joy of soup — it’s infinitely customizable!
While you’ll start out with 32 ounces (4 cups of stock), after simmering with aromatics, it will reduce to about 3 cups, so the finished soup will make about two generous 1 1/2 cup servings with lovely flavor.
This Nourishing Egg Drop Soup is great anytime, but I particularly like to have it on hand as a snack or light meal when I’ve strayed a little in my eating plan and want to get back on track. It’s tasty and fills me up if I get hungry between meals, while having a minimal impact on insulin. Of course, this soup is quite soothing and is just the ticket when I don’t feel well. It’s also nice to pair with an otherwise light entree, such as a salad, to round out a meal. Last but not least, it makes a great first course for any Asian-inpsired meal!
- 32 ounces / 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1.5" of peeled fresh gingerroot, cut into ½" slices
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed a bit (I use the side of a knife)
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley or cilantro, leaves separated from stems
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 1-2 pinches turmeric, to add golden color (optional)
- 12 grams / 2 rounded tablespoons collagen hydrolysate or gelatin*
- 2 large eggs
- 2 dashes fish sauce
- 2 dashes tamari
- ⅛ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- sliced green onions, for garnish, optional
- *plain, unflavored gelatin; you'll need to 'bloom' it by stirring into a couple of tablespoons of water and let sit for 5 minutes before stirring into the hot stock
- Place chicken stock/broth in a large saucepan. Add ginger, garlic, parsley/cilantro stems, peppercorns, and turmeric. Place saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat low, adjusting as needed to maintain a low simmer for 20 minutes.
- While stock is simmering, coarsely chop parsley/cilantro leaves and set aside. Whisk eggs vigorously in a small bowl with a fork until well blended. Stir in a dash of fish sauce, and set aside.
- Strain stock through a mesh strainer into a 4-cup container. Transfer stock back to pot and return to high heat and bring just to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in collagen or bloomed gelatin until dissolved. While stirring stock a circular motion, very slowly pour in beaten eggs. Eggs will cook immediately upon contact with hot stock. Add a dash or two of fish sauce and tamari to taste, stir in sesame oil, and season with salt and black pepper if needed. Garnish with chopped parsley/cilantro and green onions, if desired.
*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from
www.nutritiondata.self.com, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.
Please note that some of our links above are affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. We’ve used all the products listed, and recommend them because they are helpful, and are companies that we trust, not because of the commissions that we may earn from you using these products.