I organize online recipes of interest by course and cuisine on my Pinterest. Some recipes I find online simply fall outside the right season to prepare. On a cold night on day two of spring, I searched my soup directory for something new, hot and comforting. I found Ge Da Soup – a simple dish popular in northeastern China. Ge Da means lump or knot in Chinese – of flour in this case – resembling gnocchi or stringy dumplings. Southerners may liken this soup to a “Chicken and Dumplings” which substitutes egg for the chicken.
The recipe I pinned appeared to present the basic ingredients found in many Mandarin versions of Ge Da: flour, tomato and egg. Some recipes call for a variety of other ingredients, e.g., bok choy, spinach, soup stock, or dried shrimp. My brother Trey who lives in Hong Kong tells me that the Cantonese don’t use tomatoes in their Ge Da. He’s enjoyed a friend’s version with a splash of black vinegar added at the end of the recipe (surely adds a bright umami flavor).
For my version, I threw in some garlic, ginger and Tamari soy sauce to add flavor and warmth. Paul returned to the stove for seconds, so my changes fared well. Warmer weather approaches as spring begins. I look forward to making Ge Da again in cooler temperatures come fall.
Ge Da Soup
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4-5 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp canola or other cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Fresh ginger (a piece cut the size of a garlic clove), peeled and minced
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp, Tamari sauce
- Salt to taste
- Dark sesame oil to finish
- Bring water to a boil in a medium Dutch oven with lid. Slit the bottom ends of both tomatoes in a cross and blanch in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove tomatoes and allow to cool for a few minutes. Peel away skin and dice tomatoes. Set aside.
- Mix flour, salt, pepper and water with chopsticks in a bowl until flour aggregates into small stringy dumplings. Set aside.
- Pour water out of Dutch oven used to blanch the tomatoes and return it to stove. Heat oil and add diced tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook about 3 minutes.
- Add hot water and cover until tomatoes and water begin to boil. Turn heat back to a low simmer. Add dumplings into broth and stir with chopsticks to break up clumps. Simmer until dumplings cook into puffs (4-5 minutes).
- Turn off heat. Slowly pour eggs into broth while stirring with chopsticks. Add tamari, chopped green onion, and salt to taste.
- Finish soup in bowls with a little dark sesame oil.