Soups are a favourite in my household. I like to keep at least one, sometimes two stocked in the fridge or freezer for a light lunch or dinner. Also they are excellent to have around to fill you up for a mid-day snack. I’m always looking for an interesting recipe and today I have found it. Hot and Sour Soup is one that we usually order in a Chinese restaurant. A large bowl is brought to the table and the server will dole it out into our individual soup bowls. Usually enough for two small bowls each. Hot from the chili sauce and sour from the rice vinegar. This soup usually has a slightly gelatinous texture due to the added cornstarch or tapioca starch and an abundance of texture from the tofu, vegetables and scrambled egg strands. I discovered a variation of hot and sour soup on an interesting website called Leite’s Culinaria which I have been following for the past year, since I attended the Food Bloggers Conference 2013. There I met David Leite who was one of the guest speakers. He is a food writer and extremely enjoyable to listen to. He published on his blog, a Hot and Sour Soup by Joanne Chang, which he admits is the loveliest version he had ever experienced; none of the gelatinous texture and created with ground meat instead of sliced. How could I not try out this soup? So, with my own adaptation to the recipe, I present to you, Hot and Sour Soup.
At the Chinese restaurants, a mushroom called wood ear mushroom is added to the broth. These mushrooms are easy to find in an Asian supermarket however sliced button mushrooms can be used. The wood ear mushrooms are bought dehydrated. I put them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water for about 45 minutes and behold, they blossom and grow; cut away and discard the hard ‘stem’ on the underside and slice them thin with scissors.
All the ingredients are gathered and ready to start the soup. The three proteins are cubed firm tofu, ground chicken and 2 large eggs. The other ingredients are the sliced wood ear mushrooms, chopped garlic, grated ginger and sliced green onions.
The soup base is vegetable broth (or use chicken broth if you have it handy), rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha sauce or any type of Asian chili sauce, and sugar. Heat up some vegetable oil and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, green onions and ground chicken, stirring until all the chicken is in small pieces and is cooked through.Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add the remainder of the ingredients except the eggs. The eggs are beaten and slowly poured into the simmering broth while whisking them through with a fork.Strands of cooked egg are dispersed throughout the soup and it is now ready to serve.Pour into small serving bowl and garnish with a small handful of scallions and enjoy. This soup is best served right away but it is great the next day or two also.
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Hot and Sour Soup
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, smashed and mined
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
4 green onions, white and green parts, sliced thin, plus more for garnish
8 ounces ground chicken
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb. firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4-5 medium button mushrooms, thinly sliced (or 3-4 rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, thinly sliced)
- In the saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. You want to break up the chicken into smaller pieces with a spoon and ensure that it is cooked all the way through.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and chili sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more chili sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Let simmer for a few more minutes. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish each with green onions, and some black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.