Hot and Sour Soup

The weather here in central Illinois has been a bit crazy. From sunny and highs in the upper 70’s one day to cool and dreary 50’s the next. When the cool weather starts to set in I crave warming soups like nobody’s business. Hot and Sour Soup has to be one of my favorite soups, unfortunately I have not been able to find a great Chinese restaurant here in Peoria. (If you know of any please let me know! ;)) Since I have been going through hot and sour soup withdrawal I have been searching for a recipe to make in my own kitchen. Many of the recipes that I have found called hard to find ingredients such as wood ear mushrooms, cloud ear mushrooms and day lily buds. I am all about ingredients that I don’t have to order online and receive six pounds of. I should have looked at the Cook’s Illustrated recipe first because they always have easy to find ingredients.

This recipe includes easy to find shiitake mushrooms (no cloud ears here!) and substitutes if you cannot find black Chinese vinegar in your local store. This soup was incredible and surprisingly easy to make! It is also low in calories and high in protein which is always a plus. :) Want to make a full Chinese meal in your home tonight? Check out some of my favorite Chinese dishes here.

Hot and Sour Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 servings as an appetizer

Ingredients:

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons, divided
1 boneless, center-cut, pork loin chop (1/2 inch thick, about 6 ounces), trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch by 1/8-inch matchsticks
3 tablespoons cold water, plus 1 additional teaspoon
1 large egg
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup bamboo shoots (from one 5-ounce can), sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 cup)
5 tablespoons black Chinese vinegar or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 medium scallions, sliced thin

Directions:

Place tofu in pie plate and set heavy plate on top. Place 2 heavy cans on top of the plate and let stand at least 15 minutes (tofu should release about 1/2 cup liquid).
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Add the pork and set aside for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30 minutes).
In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water; set aside, leaving spoon in bowl.
In a separate small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water in small bowl; add egg and beat with fork until combined; set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, dice tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and pork, (including marinade) to soup, stirring to separate any pieces that stick together. Continue to simmer until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.
Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens and turns translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, chili oil, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce; turn off heat.
Without stirring the soup, use a soupspoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of egg mixture into pot in circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute, then return saucepan to medium-high heat. Bring soup to gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup to evenly distribute egg. Ladle into bowls and top with scallions.

Recipe Notes:
To make slicing the pork chop easier, freeze it for 15 minutes.
If you cannot find black Chinese vinegar you can substitute 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Cal 120; Fat 5 g; Sat fat 1 g; Chol 12 mg; Carb 12 g; Protein 8 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 1110 mg

Source: Cook's Illustrated, January, 2006

One Year Ago: Brown Sugar Meatloaf