Egg Drop Soup with Egg Noodles

As far as college campuses go, Penn's offers some great eating-out options. Pod, a Stephen Starr restaurant, is just 2 blocks away from Alex's apartment, and favorite local-food haven White Dog Cafe is just a block beyond that. Plus, we have three Starbucks and an impressive range of Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Middle-Eastern and other ethnic restaurants. Somehow, though, we're seriously missing decent Chinese food. That's not to say that there aren't Chinese restaurants, but rather that the dishes served at many of them are more greasy than flavorful, and known to induce nausea and self-loathing after consumption. So when we wanted the comfort of Chinese take-out without the aftermath of ordering locally, we decided to try making a classic egg-drop soup ourselves.

We were surprised to learn that the dish is very simple -- both in flavor and production. We based our recipe on one from Cooks Illustrated that called for cilantro, which we thought added a nice complexity to an otherwise basic broth-based soup. We ended up adjusting the seasonings even more to give the soup more flavor. And because we planned it as our main course, we added yolk-less (why not?) egg noodles, which went nicely.

3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
2-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled and sliced thinly, lightly smashed
3 medium scallions, halved lengthwise and lightly smashed

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
2 medium scallions, finely chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, minced
6 large eggs, beaten
1 package egg noodles

Make the broth by placing all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and simmering them for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package instructions (should take about 10 minutes) and place them aside. Discard the solid ingredients in the broth (you can do this by pouring the soup through a strainer). Return the soup to its pot, and bring it to a simmer. Add soy sauce to taste. Combine cornstarch in water in a small bowl and stir until smooth, then whisk this mixture into the soup until it thickens slightly, about one minute. Add scallions and cilantro. Whisk the eggs into the broth by stirring the broth gently in a circular motion and adding the eggs in a continuous stream. Then, let the soup stand until the eggs set, about one minute. Once they have set, break up egg ribbons with a fork. Divide egg noodles among bowls and pour soup over them. Serve immediately.