My introduction to hot and sour soup was via a powdered mix in a Knorr packet. The powdered mix was dissolved in water, cooked until thick then a beaten egg was poured into a thin stream to finish it off. That was
thirty three decades ago. I rarely buy soup mixes these days. If do I, only to use as a binder for meat loaf.
The Chinese hot and sour soup is a thick soup with robust flavors that come from chili oil, soy sauce, ginger and black vinegar. It includes mushrooms, meat, vegetables and tofu.
This is an updated version of the hot and sour soup recipe originally published on August 15, 2003.
- 250 g. of thinly sliced pork or chicken meat, cut into very thin strips
- 4 tsps. of light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
- 2 tsps. of ginger juice1
- 1 whole cake of silken tofu, cut into half-inch cubes
- 3 to 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water
- 1/4 c. of dried black fungus, soaked in warm water2
- 4 to 5 c. of chicken or meat broth, preferably homemade3
- 2 tbsps. dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsps. black vinegar
- 1 to 2 tbsps. of chili oil4
- finely ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tbsps. of tapioca (or corn) starch dispersed in about half a cup of water
- 1 egg, beaten
- onion leaves and cilantro, for garnish
- Season the pork or chicken with light soy sauce and ginger juice. Set aside.
- Drain the mushrooms. Reserve the soaking waters.
- Discard the tough stem of the shiitake. Finely slice the caps. Cut off any tough portions of the black fungus and discard. Chop the soft parts.
- Pour the broth into a pot. Pass the mushroom soaking water through a fine sieve (or a kitchen cloth) and add to the broth. Pour in the dark soy sauce, black vinegar, chili oil and pepper. Next add the meat with the marinade. Bring everything to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Taste the broth. Add salt if it still tastes bland (it should be if your broth is well seasoned but if it is bland, add salt and not more soy sauce as additional soy sauce will make your soup much too dark).
- Add the tofu and the mushrooms. Cook for another two to three minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Pour the beaten egg in a thin stream and allow to set for about 15 seconds before stirring.
- Garnish the hot and sour soup with finely sliced onion leaves and torn cilantro before serving.
1To extract ginger juice, finely grate a fairly large piece of peeled ginger, then squeeze out the juice with your hands.
3See tips on making meat broth from scratch.
4Chili oil is available in the Oriental section of supermarkets. If unavailable, cook 2 to 3 pieces of chilies in a few tablespoonfuls of vegetable (or peanut) oil over VERY LOW HEAT for about five minutes. Strain and use the oil.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6