Sunday, June 26, 2005

Mushroomless hot and sour soup

Motivated largely by Profgrrrl's recent hot and sour soup recipe, my SO and I cooked up a batch of hot and sour soup this week. However, my SO greatly dislikes mushrooms, and thus we combined and modified a few recipes (primarily the one posted by Profgrrrl and one by Joy of Cooking) to make a mushroomless hot and sour soup recipe. It was a very bracing soup (as the Joy of Cooking recipe promised), and was savory and filling, thanks to the tofu, pork, and eggs. It's this week's first end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

6 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound pork
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press
6 ounces tofu
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame oil
enough sliced scallion greens to garnish the soup (we had ~2/3 cup)
Chili paste or chili oil, and extra rice vinegar, both optional

1. Slice the pork thinly (we cut it into ~1/4" thick slices).
2. Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the sliced pork and let marinate for at least 5 minutes.
3. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium or large pot. Add the garlic as the stock is heating.
4. When the stock is simmering, add the pork and simmer until the pork is nearly cooked through, approximately 2 minutes.
5. Mix the 3 remaining tablespoons cornstarch into 3 tablespoons of water, and then whisk (or stir) this mixture into the soup.
6. Once the soup has started to thicken a little, add the tofu and pepper, and simmer for another minute.
7. Pour the eggs gradually into the soup while stirring the soup gently.
8. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.
9. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with scallions, and serve with chili paste (or chili oil) and rice vinegar on the table.

Radagast's SO enjoyed this soup without any additional flavorings, while Radagast preferred it with a bit of chili paste added. The ingredients in the soup are flexible, so customize your soup to your heart's content. Profgrrrl reports that adding some chopped cilantro to the soup adds a nice touch, and keep in mind that the classic hot and sour soup is filled with mushrooms (e.g., wood or cloud ear, shiitake), so if you like mushrooms, by all means add them.

Rombauer, I. S., M. R. Becker, and E. Becker. 1997. Joy of Cooking. Scribner, NY.

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