Serious Heat: Hot & Sour Soup, My Spicy Comfort Food

[Flickr: shinyai]

Soup equals happiness for me—especially during the storming, drizzling days of winter. I especially gravitate toward Asian soups. Chicken and noodles during a bout of the flu? Not for me; I crave Hot & Sour Soup. There's something comforting and delicious about a bowl of soup that is spicy, vinegary, and filled to the rim with a variety of ingredients.

With a little effort, I can make a Hot & Sour Soup that's better than most of my local Chinese restaurants. Too often what I've ordered from a restaurant is overly vinegary, not spicy or both.

But when at home, I can tweak the soup until it's a perfect balance of heat and tartness, using a dab of Sriracha and freshly ground black pepper for the spiciness and rice vinegar for the sourness—and that's the key to perfect Hot & Sour Soup. Also, it's a great excuse to reuse leftovers. Any veggies you have lurking in the fridge like spinach or bok choy, toss 'em in. Same goes for meat, from chicken to pork to shrimp.

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Serious Heat: Hot & Sour Soup, My Spicy Comfort Food

About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 cup chopped cooked meat (pork, chicken, beef)
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 package tofu (I prefer soft tofu but use whichever type you prefer), cut into squares
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a medium pot, sauté mushrooms and ginger until mushrooms are translucent. Add meat. Cook for a minute or two for flavors to merge. Add chicken stock, scraping up any meat or mushrooms that stuck to the pan. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

  2. 2

    In small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha and black pepper. Add to soup. Taste, adjusting the heat and sourness of the soup with additional Sriracha or rice vinegar, as needed.

  3. 3

    Bring soup to boil. In a measuring cup, whisk the eggs together. Slowly pour in the beaten egg in a tiny stream, stirring the soup to break up the stream of eggs (just like you would for egg drop soup).

  4. 4

    Reduce heat to simmer. Add bamboo shoots and tofu. Simmer for five minutes. Ladle in bowl and top with scallions.

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