Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour is a hearty soup with bold flavor and a smooth consistency. If you like what you get in the restaurants, you will love this version!

I was surprised how good this recipe was when I first tried it a few years ago. The flavor is authentically Chinese and tastes as good or better than soups I have had out. The chili oil really boosts the overall flavor and adds just the right amount of heat. The technique of drizzling the egg over the warm soup allows it to blend gently into the soup without overcooking and becoming clumpy.

This recipe calls for fresh mushrooms which I have used before, but I tried dry Shiitake mushrooms this time after finding some at Costco recently. The flavor and texture held up surprisingly well, so I was happy with the results.

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 boneless, center-cut, pork loin chop (6 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water, plus 1 additional teaspoon
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can bamboo shoots, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 medium scallions, sliced

Instructions:

1. Place drained tofu in a pie plate or shallow bowl and set a heavy plate on top. Weight with 2 heavy cans and let stand 15 minutes. Tofu should release about 1/4 cup of liquid.

2. Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in medium bowl. Add pork and marinate for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

3. Combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside, leaving spoon in the bowl. In a separate bowl, mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water. Add egg and beat with a fork until combined. Set aside.

4. Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. While the broth simmers, dice the tofu to 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and pork, including marinade, to the soup, stirring to separate any pieces of pork that may stick together. Continue to simmer until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

5. Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high and stir for another minute. Stir in red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, pepper and remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce. Turn off heat.

6. Without stirring the soup, use a soup spoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of the egg mixture into the pot in a circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute and then return to medium-high heat. Bring soup to a gentle boil and then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup to evenly distribute the egg and ladle into bowls. Top with scallions and serve.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, January 2006

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