Traditional Hot and Sour Soup

Texture

The complex range of textures within traditional hot and soup are often bypassed in the Americanized version due to “exotic” ingredients such as tiger lily buds and woodear mushrooms. If you’re so adventurous and lucky to live near an Asian grocery store, pick up a pack of each…you won’t be disappointed.

For a Americanized version of hot and sour soup, visit http://cinnybear.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/hot-and-sour-soup/

Ingredients

7 ounces extra-firm tofu , drained
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch , plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 boneless, center-cut, pork loin chop or chicken breast (1/2 inch thick, about 6 ounces), trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch by 1/8-inch matchsticks
3 tablespoons cold water , plus 1 additional teaspoon
1 large egg
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup bamboo shoots (from one 5-ounce can), sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms , stems removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup tiger lily buds
1/2 cup woodear mushrooms, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
5 tablespoons black Chinese vinegar or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (stick to black Chinese vinegar if you have it!)
2 teaspoons chili oil (for the extra kick!)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 medium scallions , sliced thin

Directions

1. Place tofu in pie plate and set heavy plate on top. Weight with 2 heavy cans; let stand at least 15 minutes (tofu should release about 1/2 cup liquid). Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in medium bowl; toss pork with marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30 minutes).

2. Soak tiger lily buds and woodear mushrooms in hot water for 10-15 minutes (or until tender and not dried-looking!) Drain water. Remove the root of the woodear mushrooms and slice into 1/4 inch strips.

2. Combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water in small bowl and mix thoroughly; set aside, leaving spoon in bowl. Mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water in small bowl; add egg and beat with fork until combined. Set aside.

3. Bring broth to boil in large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. While broth simmers, dice tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and pork, including marinade, to soup, stirring to separate any pieces of pork that stick together. Continue to simmer until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens and turns translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, chili oil, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce; turn off heat.

5. Without stirring soup, use soupspoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of egg mixture into pot in circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute, then return saucepan to medium-high heat. Bring soup to gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup once to evenly distribute egg; ladle into bowls and top with scallions.

 

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