Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Easy Hot and Sour Soup

"For a quick meal on a gray and gloomy day, it's hard to beat this."

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Truly authentic hot and sour soup, if such a thing exists, probably contains some ingredients that aren't super easy to track down in most local grocery stores. I mean, when was the last time you saw day lily buds, chinkiang vinegar, or wood ear fungus just hanging out on the shelves? No, for this batch I took the easy route.

This recipe from The Kitchn is good enough to make you forget about "the rules." It's a relaxing and warming soup, the kind that makes you relish the upcoming winter transition.

Hot and Sour soup is all about balance. The heat comes not from chiles, but from white or black pepper. The sour comes from a judicious pour of vinegar. The recipe calls for about three tablespoons but I added more to give the soup more zing. You can even crack some more pepper on top—it's really up to you to craft your perfect bite.

The body of the soup comes from a slurry of cornstarch and the late-in-the-game addition of a beaten egg. Both make the stock silky and rich. It's a quick trick that really works. Someday I'd like to get to a recipe like this one from Saveur, but for a quick meal on a gray and gloomy day, it's hard to beat this.

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