With the really cold weather setting in I was in the mood for a nice warming soup and as luck would have it I had a lot of the Asian style chicken broth leftover from when I made the Hainanese chicken rice. (The Asian style chicken broth is basically the broth leftover from poaching a chicken along with some garlic, ginger and green onions. You can then simmer the chicken bones in the broth to give it an even stronger flavour.) Whenever I eat out at Chinese restaurants one of the things that I like to order is the hot and sour soup and I had been wanting to try making it at home. I figured that the Asian chicken broth would work well in Chinese hot and sour soup and that the hot and spicy soup would be perfect for the deep freeze that we were in.
I found a bunch of recipes for hot and sour soup and used what I liked from each of them to come up with this one. I tried to keep the recipe as authentic as I could and that meant that there were a few ingredients that I was not familiar with including the tree ear mushrooms and the lily buds. Luckily it was easy enough to find them at a local Chinese grocery store. (I had previously used the black mushrooms and the Chinese black vinegar and I had found them at the same grocery store.)
Although the soup required a bit of prep work it was pretty easy and straight forward to make. As it was cooking I immediately recognized the smell and I was looking forward to the enjoying the soup. Chinese hot and sour soup is supposed to rely on the white pepper for the heat but when I taste tested it near the end I was not satisfied with the level of spiciness so I added a bit more heat in the form of some chili oil and chili sauce (already listed in the recipe below). With the additional seasoning the Chinese hot and sour soup ended up tasting just as good as it smelled! There was a nice balance of heat and sourness and the soup just tasted great! I really like the way the eggs were used in this soup and I will have to keep it in mind when making soups in the future. Luckily there are a lot of leftovers and they will help me through the next few really cold days.
Note: You could easily omit the pork and use an Asian flavoured vegetable broth to make a vegetarian friendly version.
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
This hot and sour soup is just packed with flavour and the tofu and egg drop give it an amazing texture not to mention all of those mushrooms.
Servings: makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 6 dried tree ear mushrooms (also known as wood ear mushrooms)
- 6 dried black mushrooms
- 8 dried lily buds (otherwise known as golden needles)
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 ounces pork loin (optional), cooked and shredded
- 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1 package tofu, cut into small pieces
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons chili oil or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce or to taste
- 4 green onions sliced
- Soak the tree ear and black mushrooms in boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes, and shred them.
- Soak the lily buds in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes, and shred them.
- Cover the bamboo shoots in water, bring to a boil, drain and shred.
- Mix the vinegars, soy sauce, salt and sugar in a bowl.
- Mix the cornstarch into the water in a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the pork, tree ear and black mushrooms, lily buds and bamboo shoots and saute for a minute.
- Add the broth and tofu and bring to a boil.
- Add the vinegar mixture and the cornstarch mixture and stir until it thickens.
- Pour the eggs into the soup in a thin stream while stirring the soup.
- Stir in the peppers, oils and chili sauce.
- Serve garnished with green onions.
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