West lake beef soup is a humble starter soup popular among Chinese folks as it calls quite common ingredients: tofu, beef, shiitake mushroom, starch and coriander.
This soup is so yummy but so mischievous. It is quite hard to photo. The pictures make it seem quite normal but in fact it is super delicious.
Honestly, I am quite confused by the name too. There is one saying about the appearance (the thick egg white soup looks just like the lake). When taking the pictures, I find the reflection makes the soup much similar to the lake surface. Traditionally, the soup use egg white and then we only get white egg drops. But it is ok if you want to use whisked whole egg. Following is my customized version using whisked egg liquid and chopped Bok Choy.
To make a successful west lake beef soup, one of the most important step is to separate the minced beef. So minced beef should be cooked in boiling water for 1 minute to remove the odd taste after marinating. After that, break the minced beef into small particles with a scoop.
- 1 cup minced beef
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1 egg white , well whisked
- 1 thumb ginger , minced
- 2 shitake mushrooms , chopped
- 5 cups beef broth , unsalted
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch+ 5 tablespoons water
- 1/3 box tender tofu , around 100g
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of salt
- 1 small bunch of coriander , minced for garnishing
Marinate minced beef with salt and cooking wine. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
Bring water to boil in a pot and cook the minced beef for 2-3 minutes over high fire (this helps to remove any odd taste of the beef), transfer beef out and separated them by pressing with a scoop.
In a small bowl, mix 5 tablespoons of cornstarch and 5 tablespoons of water to make water starch. Do not add cornstarch directly in the soup, otherwise you will end up with transparent cornstarch chunks instead of thick soup
Load another large pot with beef broth; add beef, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and minced ginger. Bring to boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.
Pour water starch in and cook for another 1 minute. Turn up the fire and drop the egg white slowly using one hand and in the mean time, stir the soup quickly with the other hand.
Add ground pepper and serve with chopped coriander. Add chopped coriander and mix well before enjoying.
I do not recommend adding the coriander directly in the large bowl. If the soup is not finished within 10 minutes, you will find the coriander leaves turns dark green and lose the aroma.