This is one of my favorite things to make when the weather is cold. Hot and Sour Soup’s heat, salt and tanginess are just the thing for a sore throat or head cold. And it’s actually quite good for you, too: low fat with fiber, protein and soy. Of course, this is absolutely delicious. It’s better than what you would get in a Chinese restaurant.
Although it requires a few special ingredients and advance preparation, it’s really very easy to make. It is quick, too, taking no more than twenty minutes once you get the pot going.
This makes a good-sized batch of soup.
- 1 package of dried mushrooms. I prefer oyster mushrooms. Shiitake are tough and chewy.
- 1 large can and one small can of chicken broth
- 1 can bamboo shoots, drained
- 1.5 cup of fresh carrots, chopped into matchstick-sized pieces
- 2 half-inch thick pieces of Spam, sliced thin. (Trust me, this works very well). Or, three cooked pork sausage links, sliced thin.
- Soy sauce
- 1 egg, beaten well
- Sesame oil. IMPORTANT – this is the essence of the soup. Don’t bother making it if you don’t have sesame oil!
- Red pepper flakes
- Rice vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- I package of firm tofu
- Chopped green onion tops
Soak the mushrooms in warm water at least one hour before adding to the soup. Rinse well to remove any sand. Slice into thin pieces. Set aside.
Mix 1 tb soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 tb sesame oil. Pour marinade over sliced meat. Toss and set aside for fifteen minutes.
Remove excess water from the tofu by wrapping in two paper towels and placing something heavy on top of it for fifteen minutes. After the towels have soaked the extra liquid, cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Discard the paper.
Mix egg with 1 tsp cornstarch. Set aside
Mix 2 tb balsamic vinegar, 3 tb rice vinegar and 3 tb soy sauce. Set aside.
Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
Add chicken broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
Add carrots, tofu, bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Add vinegar mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add meat and marinade. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes to taste. Cook 2 more minutes.
Add cornstarch-water mixture. Stir well.
Drizzle egg mixture onto the top of the pot. DO NOT STIR! Cover with pot lid and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Serve hot into bowls. Sprinkle with chopped green onion tops.
You can make a vegetarian version of this by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth and avoid adding any pork.
I like my soup very tangy and hot. I will add more red pepper and rice vinegar to my bowl.