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 wood ear mushrooms and the lily buds. Luckily it was easy enough to find them at a local Chinese 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.
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.
- 6 dried wood/tree ear or cloud ear mushrooms
- 6 dried dried shiitake mushrooms (aka Chinese black mushrooms)
- 8 dried lily buds
- 4 ounces pork, cooked and sliced (optional)
- 4 cups Chinese Superior Stock (see below) or chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth or pork bone broth
- 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and sliced thinly
- 8 ounces firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
- 4 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (aka Chinkiang vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce (such as sambal oelek)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 2 tablespoons water
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons chili oil
- 4 green onions, sliced
- Pour 1 cup boiling water over the wood ear and shiitake mushrooms and soak until tender, about 15 minutes, before slicing them and reserving the water.
- Pour 1 cup boiling water over the lily buds and soak until tender, about 15 minutes, before slicing them and discarding the water.
- Bring the broth, reserved mushroom water, mushrooms, lily buds, pork, bamboo shoots, tofu, vinegar, chili sauce, soy sauce and sugar to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Mix in the cornstarch and water mixture and simmer until the soup thickens a bit, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the eggs in a small stream, while stirring the pot, to get long, thin streams of egg in the soup.
- Mix in the white pepper, sesame oil, chili oil, and green onions, remove from heat and enjoy!
Option: Use vegetable broth and omit the pork for vegetarian.
Quick and Easy Chinese Superior Stock
A quick, easy and simple version of Chinese Superior Stock for use in Chinese soups.
- 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 2 inches ginger, sliced thinly
- 4 green onions, cut into 2 inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/4 cup ham or raw smoked bacon, coarsely chopped (omit for vegetarian)
- Place everything in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes before straining out the solids.