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EXPRESS LINE : The Oriental Express

November 23, 1990|MINNIE BERNARDINO and DONNA DEANE | TIMES FOOD STYLISTS

SOUP'S ON

Oriental Tureen Chinese salad in crisp won-ton cups Pineapple sorbet or honeydew melon and strawberries

This time of year, there's nothing better than a bowl of soup after a long day at work. Most soups require long simmering, but here's one that is instant, easy . . . and delicious. Even when you're not pressed for time, you'll find this the perfect meal for cool evenings.

Our Oriental Tureen is almost a meal-in-one-dish; made with shrimp, mushrooms and broccoli, it is both nutritious and low in calories. If you don't have homemade chicken broth, the clear, canned version is an acceptable substitute.

The wonderful thing about this soup is how easily it can be varied. It starts with chicken broth that is subtly thickened with cornstarch and egg--and then you begin to add ingredients. This week it could be seafood: shrimp, scallops, crab, mussels or chunks of fish. Next week, you might make the soup with leftover roast pork, chicken or turkey.

If you don't have broccoli, use any vegetables you have on hand. We suggest peas or Chinese pea pods, bok choy , water chestnuts, napa cabbage or spinach. At other times you could vary the soup by dropping in Oriental cellophane noodles.

To add a crisp note to the menu, try filling won-ton cups with some sort of meat or vegetable salad. Chinese chicken salad, bought at the supermarket deli, is a perfect candidate for this menu. To make won-ton cups, line greased muffin cups with won-ton wrappers and bake them in greased muffin cups at 350 degrees for six minutes.

For a cooling finish, serve the suggested sorbet, or a bowl of berries and sliced fruit, Asian pears or sweet winter mandarin oranges.

ORIENTAL TUREEN

Staples

Cornstarch

Egg

Salt

Pepper

Shopping List

4 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms

1/3 bunch broccoli

4 (14-ounce) cans clear chicken broth

1 pound cooked medium to large shelled and deveined shrimp

1 small bottle sesame oil

1. Slice 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms into medium strips. (If using dried shiitake, reconstitute in warm water before slicing.)

2. Cut 1/3 bunch broccoli into florets.

3. Combine 4 (14-ounce) cans clear chicken broth, 1 cup water and 1/2 cup cornstarch in saucepan until smooth. Bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.

4. Add mushrooms and broccoli to soup. Heat until broccoli is tender-crisp.

5. Beat 1 egg lightly with fork in bowl. Add to soup, wait 10 seconds before gently stirring.

6. Drop in 1 pound cooked medium to large shelled and deveined shrimp and 2 teaspoons sesame oil.

7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 4 servings.

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