Monday, January 3, 2011

Hot and Sour Soup

My daily wardrobe has consisted of jeans, wool socks, a thermal shirt, sweatshirt and a scarf draped around my head and neck. I keep cranking the heater to 75 degrees and someone keeps turning it down! If it weren't for my dog Lucy cuddling next to me on the couch, I would need blanket as well.

While visiting family over the holidays, my grandma shared with me a hot and sour soup recipe. She told me she used to make for me and my sister when we were little and written at the top of the recipe was: Hugh (my grandpa), Jacqueline and Michele (my sister) like.

I figured it would be a good time to bring this recipe back to life since it is so cold outside. The benefit to making your own hot and sour soup is you can very how chunky, hot or sour you want the soup. For example, I've added more veggies than you normally get at a Chinese restaurant.

Hot and Sour Soup

4 dried Chinese mushrooms
1/2 c. lean pork or shrimp (optional)
1/2 c. bamboo shoot
1/3 c. tofu
1 egg
1 scallion minced
1 tbs cornstarch
4 tbsp water
4 c. chicken broth
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soyu
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4-1 tsp hot chili oil (depending on how hot you like it)

Soak the Chinese mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Squeeze liquid out of the mushrooms and remove the stems with a pairing knife. Cut mushroom caps into thin strips.
*Note: I like to buy black mushrooms for this soup. You can play around with a variety of mushrooms, all will yield a different flavor.
Cut pork across the grain into 1/4 inch slices then 1/8 inch wide strips. If using shrimp, chop the shrimp up into 1/4 inch pieces.

Cut tofu and bamboo shoots into similar sized strips.
*Note: Bamboo shoots should be available in any grocery store. I prefer to buy the canned bamboo shoots whole rather than the sliced bamboo shoots simply because I it tastes more fresh.

Break egg in a bowl & beat lightly.
Mix cornstarch and water until blended.
Bring broth to a boil and add pork (or shrimp) and mushrooms.
By the time the pot comes to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Add bamboo shoots & tofu and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
Mix vinegar, soyu, hot chili oil, salt and pepper and stir into soup.

Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook stirring constantly until thickened.

Stir in the beaten egg and remove from heat when egg threads are almost firm.
Add sesame oil and scallions and serve immediately.


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