This is too simple a recipe for me to write a full description, it’s my go-to meal when I am busy.
Leafy greens are high in dietary fibre and alkalinity, thus, they have a cleansing effect on the body. A typical vegetarian dish in China is tomatoes and eggs, either stir-fried or in a broth. It’s very simple, but a good combination. In China, the most common vegetarian dish is either stir-fried tomato & egg or tomato & egg broth. They do tend to use MSG in the broths here, so I prefer to make my own. When vegetables cook in a broth, the vitamins and minerals are not really diminished (the live enzymes are though), because they are contained and absorbed in the broth, so I’d say broths are the best warm winter health food. Even without rice, potato or pasta, they are also quite satiating because of their liquid content. I like to add leafy greens to mine too, echoing a recipe I read some time ago by Harumi Murihara ‘Japanese Cooking With Harumi’, thanks to my dear student Yukiko for buying it as a gift for me, to encourage me to cook Japanese-European fusion dishes. She calls this ‘egg-drop broth’, it’s so simple and comforting.
I like the idea of egg drop broth, it reminds me of pastina, an Italian comfort food or children’s dish. Pastina is a combination of vegetable broth, pastina (baby pasta, usually in star shapes) and either formaggino (a soft cheese for kids) or a whisked egg, stirred in right at the end. It’s what my parents and grandparents fed me when I was ill or upset, the favourite comfort food of my childhood. I make a modernised, more ‘adult’ version called Wild Mushroom Pastina, fusing Chinese and Italian ingredients.
This broth is very quick, I usually prepare it on cold evenings when I don’t want to eat a heavy meal.
Mineral water, 500 ml
Vegetable stock cube (I like Kallo best, or I make your own), 1
Tomato (plum is always nice), chopped, 1
Leafy greens (spinach, choy sum, pak choy, kale etc.), chopped, a handful
Garlic cloves, minced, 2
Chilli flakes, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt (or Herbamare is also very nice here), to taste
Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Finely chopped spring onions, to garnish
1. On a medium heat, boil the water with the vegetable stock, chopped tomato and other seasoning.
2. Gently beat the eggs and stir into the stock when it’s boiling (it cooks in no time)
3. Place the chopped leafy greens at the base of the bowl, and pour the egg and tomato broth over. The leafy greens wilt in seconds. Season a little more if you wish and garnish with torn basil leaves and/spring onions.
I like my broths with a bit of a chilli kick, but if you don’t, substitute for another spice or herb, like sweet paprika.