Asparagus and Crab Meat Soup

4 cups chicken broth
3 tsp of nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs vegetable oil
6 shallots - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
8 ounces lump crab meat - picked over and drained
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs cornstarch or arrowroot - mixed with 2 tbs cold water
1 egg - lightly beaten
15 oz white asparagus spears
1 tbs shredded coriander
1 scallion - thinly sliced, cut into 1 inch sections with canning liquid reserved

Combine broth, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, sugar and salt in a 3 quart soup pot.
Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer. Heat the oil in a skillet and dd the shallots and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.

Add the crab meat, the remaining 2 teaspoons fish sauce and black pepper to taste.

Stir fry over high heat for about 1 minute then set aside. Bring the soup to a boil.

Add the cornstarch mixture and stir gently until the soup thickens and is clear.

While the soup is boiling, add the egg and stir gently, continue to stir for about 1 minute.

Add the crab meat mixture and asparagus with its canning liquid and cook gently until heated through.

Transfer the soup to a heated tureen.

Sprinkle on the coriander, scallion and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Courtesy: Chef Nikhil