Westlake Beef Soup

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A very popular soup from the Zhejiang Province, Westlake Soup is a type of egg drop soup. It is very light with a silky texture nuanced with cilantro and white pepper.



  • 1/4 lb lean beef minced fine then minced finer or lean ground beef, marinated in a bit of light soy, white pepper, Shaoxing, cornstarch, and a few drops of sesame oil for a few minutes.
  • 1/4 lb silken tofu, diced into tiny cubes
  • 2 shiitakes, fresh or rehydrated, stems removed, minced
  • 4 water chestnuts, peeled and diced into small cubes, or a small handful of tinned water chestnuts drained and rinsed thoroughly, diced into small cubes
  • 2 tsp ginger, peeled, minced fine or grated
  • Beef or chicken stock, just a basic one, doesn't need too many aromatics just simmered, skimmed, and strained water, quartered onion, peppercorns, crushed garlic and bones, or store bought. About 4-5 cups
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Cornstarch slurry
  • white pepper
  • good handful cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin


This recipe doesn't really require ludicrous heat. On modestly high heat, brown and caramelize the beef. If using ground, break up into as small chunks as you can. Add ginger and shiitakes and saute for a bit until fragrant. Add beef broth. Add water chestnuts and tofu. Bring to rapid boil. Pour in enough cornstarch slurry to thicken to a thin gravy consistency. Pour in beaten eggs in a steady stream, stirring the surface of the soup with a fork to break up the egg stream into fine ribbons of cooked egg. Add a few dashes of white pepper, the cilantro and scallions, and taste for salt. Serve.