I love hot and sour soup. Love. It. Unfortunately the nearest Chinese restaurant doesn’t have very good hot and sour soup. It’s super gelatinous to the point of nearing Jell-O consistency. My favorite place for hot and sour soup around here is the Mid-Hudson Buffet in Kingston, NY. It’s perfect every single time, but let’s face it — it’s not practical (or healthy) to head to the Chinese buffet every time I have a craving for this soup. It was time to learn to make it on my own. I looked over several recipes and figured out a recipe that would work for me. It couldn’t contain any of the slimy mushrooms I dislike, it could not be too gelatinous, and it had to be easy. Now, I’ve never had good luck with Chinese cooking at home. Everything turns out kind of ho-hum at best. Luckily, this soup proved to be the exception.
Hot & Sour Soup
4 cups of chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 cups of water
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (I used a 3.5 oz. package)
2 cups of white mushrooms, thinly sliced (or other mushroom of your choosing)
4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Wondra
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 package extra-firm tofu, well-drained and sliced into small rectangles or squares (I like a mix of both)
2 Tbsp. fresh finely grated ginger
In a large stock pot, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add all of the mushrooms and simmer for about 10 minutes. Next, whisk together 3 Tbsp. of rice wine vinegar and the Wondra. (I like to use Wondra because it adds just a bit of creamy mouthfeel to the soup, but it doesn’t do the gelatin thing that I dislike.) Add the slurry to the pot and stir for one minute.
Next, add the egg to the soup through a slotted spoon and immediately stir. This will create pretty egg ribbons throughout the soup. Finally, stir in the tofu and remove the soup from the heat. Cover the pot and let it stand for a couple minutes.
Put the grated ginger in a small sieve, and squeeze the juice into soup. Add the remaining Tbsp. of vinegar. Serve with scallions. For a little extra heat, add a few drops of Sriracha!
Drew and I both ate two bowls of this for lunch. I could have eaten a third, but I held back. I also want to see how it holds up overnight. This is a great change from regular old chicken soup and one that I’ll make again and again.