Tomato Tofu Egg Flower Soup

Love Poem to Tofu

Love Poem to Tofu, by Mong-Lan

A simple poem, but I like how the indentation and spacing of the lines evoke the slicing of the blocks of tofu. Here’s a recipe that uses tomatoes and a not-so-solitary beaten egg. Or rather, an approximation, since home cooking relies upon intuition rather than measurements. ‘Egg drop soup’ (the name I’ve never known this by) is drunk all over China but not always with the same ingredients (other than the egg). This is the Hong Kong / my home version of it. My household calls it 番茄荳腐蛋花湯 (tomato tofu egg flower soup), but you can call it 荳腐蛋花湯 (tofu egg flower soup) or 蛋花湯 (egg flower soup) too.

No need to be precise. You can add as much egg and tofu as you like, and add garnishes like spring onions or coriander. The important thing (in my opinion) is to achieve the brilliant red colour of the soup, using a lot of tomatoes.

Serves: 2                   Time: 5 min preparation, 1/2 hour cooking

Ingredients:

  • 8 tomatoes, chopped (the smaller you chop them, the quicker they’ll cook)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 350g block of silken firm tofu (or thereabouts – my block was a strange 349g in weight), divided up into large pieces
  • salt
  • oil

Method:

    1. Fry tomatoes in a saucepan until soft.
    2. Cover with water enough to serve 2 people > boil until the water turns a healthily bright tomato colour and you can smell an intense tomato aroma when you lift the saucepan lid. Waiting for the colour and aroma is the most time-consuming part of the cooking process. Wash up, flick through the newspaper, or something.
    3. Season with salt and stir because once you add tofu you should do a minimal amount of stirring.
    4. Add the tofu carefully, otherwise they’ll disintegrate in the soup.
    5. Pour in the beaten egg > swirl a chopstick or something thin and long in the soup to make the egg fan out like a 花 (‘flower’). Then serve!
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