This is one of my favourite soups made by my mum and is total comfort food for me. She has cooked this from as early as I can remember, and funnily enough the secret is – are you ready? – tinned asparagus. It’s a clear case of fresh is not always best. The soft texture of tinned asparagus adds to the silkiness of the soup, and you also need the juice from the tin. I won’t lie: I’m pretty sure Mum would have also made this soup using tinned crab once upon a time but go for the fresh stuff where possible. Mum won’t judge you for using tinned crab if you’re on a budget.
For the broth, bring all the ingredients to the boil and taste for seasoning. Add more fish sauce for saltiness. Add the crabmeat and asparagus, including the asparagus juice and bring back to the boil. Slowly add the potato starch slurry in a thin stream, stirring constantly. You may not need all of the slurry – stop when you have reached your preferred consistency, keeping in mind that it will continue to thicken a little after you’ve stopped. It should be creamy, and coat the back of a spoon.
When you’re happy with the consistency, bring the soup back to the boil. Stirring gently, slowly add the egg whites in a thin stream. This will give you the ‘egg flower effect’ most often seen in chicken and sweet corn soup.
Divide the soup among about eight bowls and garnish each with coriander and spring onions. Let people season to their taste with freshly ground pepper and red vinegar.
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