Friday, May 4, 2012

Hot & Sour Soup

Homemade Hot & Sour Soup

So I've been fighting an upper respiratory infection (a head cold) all week. A good friend of mine, Cynthia, suggested I make some Hot & Sour Soup to help clear my congestion and to feed my body some tasty nutrition. 

Cyn and I share recipes back and forth over the web. Awhile ago, she sent me a version of a recipe for this soup that was close to her own, but not exactly. I took that recipe and also looked up the same soup recipe in my Frugal Gourmet cookbook (The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China-Greece-Rome by Jeff Smith). I compared and combined the two recipes to make my own version of this soup that I love to eat in Chinese restaurants, and especially enjoy here at home when I have a head cold. When making it myself, it tastes so much fresher and brighter than the soup from the restaurants. I can also dictate how much heat and how much "sour" goes into the soup. 

So when I made this soup for myself yesterday, I finally decided to actually write down what I put into it! And then today, another friend, Dan, asked me to post my soup recipe, so here I am posting it on my Mountain Harvest Basket blog. 

Although it does come out a bit differently each time I make it, here is how I made it yesterday. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself! And it did help clear my head. 

You can adjust the seasonings to make it hotter, more sour, thicker or thinner as pleases you. You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the pork and doubling the tofu, and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth. If you are vegan, you will omit the eggs, too. If you don't like, or can't find, bamboo shoots, you can use canned water chestnuts for crunch. Raw green peas are a nice addition as is fresh green onion added as a garnish.

Jen’s Hot & Sour Soup

Mushrooms ~ (white/brown, small fresh) 3-4 oz (2 handfuls), sliced thin
Onion ~ thinly sliced, chopped, ½ small (1 handful)
Firm Tofu ~ 4 oz, in ½ inch cubes
Pork ~ one boneless pork chop, 4-6 oz, thinly sliced, cubed
Bamboo Shoots ~ 1/3 can (about 1/3 cup), julienned

Chicken Broth ~ 4 cups
Water ~ 2 cups

Black Pepper ~ a few good grinds
Lemon Pepper ~ a few shakes
Real Salt ~ a sprinkle
Garlic ~ 3-4 cloves minced or several shakes of garlic powder
Ginger ~ 2 tsp freshly grated, or several heavy shakes of powder
White Pepper ~ ground, 1 tsp

Soy Sauce ~ 2-3 Tbs
Rice Vinegar ~ ¼ cup
Sesame Oil ~ 1-2 tsp
Chili Oil ~ 3 or 4 good shakes (or use some cayenne to taste)

Corn starch ~ 1-4 Tbs mixed with equal parts cool water (I used only 1 Tbs + 1 Tbs water this time)

Eggs ~ 2 small, beaten

Sauté veggies, pork & tofu in olive oil until just starting to brown & caramelize. Add the broth, water and seasonings in the order given. Bring to a boil then simmer till mushrooms and onions look done and are tender. About 20 minutes.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture well and allow to boil to thicken broth. When desired consistency is reached, gently drizzle in beaten eggs in a thin stream. Wait a few moments, then stir gently and remove from heat.

Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. May be served garnished with a little chopped green onion. Serve piping hot for best effect.

I think this soup tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld. My partner, Jack, told me tonight as he was eating a bowl of it, "This is so good, you could sell it and make money!"


© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket


Hardware Bob said...

Sounds yummy & hearty, good comfort food when you're not feeling all that great.

Wonder if any leftovers made it to the next day?

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I love making soups and I've never had this in a restaurant. It sounds, by the list of the ingredients, like a winner. I'm curious about the name of it . . . "Hot" I figure is from the chili oil, but what in it that brings on the "sour" flavor . . . vinegar?

I hope you're feeling much better. I think head colds are miserable!

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Bob,
Yes, there were leftovers the next day, but they are all gone now. I will make it again soon and make sure you get some.

Hi CA Grammy,
The heat in the soup is mostly from the ground white pepper, but also from the chili oil and the black pepper. You can adjust the heat to your liking. The sour taste is from the vinegar. I like to use the rice vinegar in Asian style dishes, but one recipe called for just plain white distilled vinegar. Again, adjust the amount of vinegar to your own taste.

Thanks for the good wishes. I am healing a little more each day.

ötlet said...