Classic hot and sour soup made with a rich chicken and ham stock, served with tofu, wood-ear mushrooms, day lilies, and pork.
'Hot and Sour Soup' on Serious Eats
Is it just me or is hot and sour soup one of the weirdest in the Chinese take-out canon? Most bowls consist of a gloppy mass of orange sweet liquid, giving way to a slightly sour and slightly spicy finish. Bites of mushroom, pea, and tofu add a bit of interest, but they can't save the soup bowl. But there's no reason why a homemade bowl of hot and sour can't make for a warming, pleasant meal. Dave Becker's recipe in Stewed is one such example. He eschews the sweet element of too many take-out containers, instead favoring the naturally sour taste lemongrass, rice vinegar, and lime juice and the gentle heat of red chiles and white pepper. Carrots, shiitakes, bell peppers, and snow peas make up the bulk of the vegetables, and a small amount of rice noodles or rice turns the appetizer into a full meal. It's a far cry from any hot and sour I'd ever eaten--and that's a good thing.
Hot & Sour Soup that's tastier than your takeout Chinese restaurant can be made in a snap. Even better, it's a great way to use up any leftover meat or veggies lurking in the fridge.
"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...