Vietnamese Asparagus and Crabmeat Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil
6 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces fresh or canned lump crabmeat, picked over and drained
Freshly ground black or white pepper
3/4 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch sections
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cilantro, shredded or chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Combine the broth, 1 Tbs. of the fish sauce, sugar, and salt in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet, add the shallots and garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the crabmeat , the remaining 2 tsp. fish sauce and pepper to taste. Stir-fry for 1 minute; set aside.

Add the asparagus to the soup pot. Simmer until barely tender.

Add cornstarch slurry, raise heat to a boil and stir until the soup thickens slightly. While the soup is actively boiling, add the egg and stir gently.

Reduce heat to a simmer.

Add the crabmeat mixture and cook gently until just heated through.

Sprinkle with the cilantro, scallion, and freshly ground pepper.

Adapted from Nicole Routhier's "The Foods of Vietnam"
(Her recipe used canned white asparagus.)

Source of recipe: samchang