Aarti says the name of this soup comes from a magazine cover that referred to India’s economy as a tiger and China’s as a dragon. The recipe is inspired by a sweet corn and chicken soup she ate as a kid at her favorite Chinese restaurant. “I make this soup for the girls whenever someone sniffles. It’s a blank canvas — you can add different spices,” says Aarti.
Make a bouquet garni: Place the coriander, peppercorns, bay leaves and star anise on a small square of cheesecloth. Tie with kitchen string. (Alternatively, you can secure all the spices in a large tea ball.).
Pour 10 cups of water into a big soup pot. Add the bouquet garni, all of the leek, carrot and ginger; season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Now add the chicken. Return the soup to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Using a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and set aside to cool. You now have a choice: I like to pluck out the dark green leek leaves and bouquet garni but leave the rest of the vegetables in the soup because this Indian lady can’t stand the sight of wasted veggies! But if that doesn’t bother you, or if it seems like too much of a hassle, just strain the stock and discard all the solids.
Return the soup to medium heat. Add the corn, bouillon cubes, white and light green scallions and sesame oil; keep the soup at a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the bones and shred with a fork. (Alternatively, slice the chicken really thinly.)
Turn up the heat under the pot to high and bring the soup to a boil. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water until a smooth slurry forms. Add half of the slurry to the soup, stirring constantly. The soup will thicken as it boils; if it doesn’t thicken to the consistency of your liking, add the remaining slurry.
Reduce the heat under the pot to medium. In another small bowl, beat the egg whites with a little water. Stir the soup in circles as you add the egg whites in a steady stream; it should form pretty white wisps on the surface of the soup.
Add the shredded chicken and rice vinegar and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of soy sauce. Top with the reserved scallion greens.