Hot and Sour Soup

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When it comes to Chinese soups, one of my favorite recipes is Hot and Sour Soup. I had been wanting to try making it at home and 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. The Chinese hot and sour soup often contains ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and tofu. The spicy hot comes from the white pepper, and the sour comes from the vinegar. I decided to use shiitake and enoki mushrooms for this recipe. You will not find enoki mushrooms in your traditional Chinese hot and sour soup but I just love the way enoki mushroom taste and I think they are perfect for soups.
The dish is actually pretty easy to make. First, marinade chicken for 10-15 minutes in cooking wine and salt. Then bring chicken stock to boil and add mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Cornstarch water will add thickness to the soup but it should not be too heavy. Chicken should be added later in order to keep meat soft. An egg is stirred in at the end to form tiny ribbons. Vinegar and white pepper should be added the last minute, otherwise the vinegar taste will disappear once it’s evaporated. For more flavor, I added a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and garnished with scallions, fresh cilantro and red chili peppers. I omitted tofu from my version but if you decide to add tofu, be sure to drain it thoroughly before adding it to the soup so it will soak up the flavor of the broth. The spiciness for hot and sour soup should only come from white pepper but I thought that red chili peppers added a nice touch to the soup. If you are not using red chili peppers, you can adjust the spiciness by adding chili oil or more white pepper.

Note: Many of these ingredients can be found in your local Supermarket. If you cant find Chinese black vinegar,  you can use rice vinegar instead. I bought all these ingredients in my local asian store.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3.5 oz fresh enoki mushrooms ( 1 package )
  • 2 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (about 1 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1//2 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips (from an 8-oz can)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • cilantro, scallions and red chili pepper to garnish

Water starch:

  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon water

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, cooking wine, and salt into a bowl, mix well. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Cover the bamboo shoots in water, then bring just to a boil (to remove bitterness) and drain in a sieve
  3. Add black vinegar, white pepper and a pinch of sugar into a small bowl, mix well and set aside.
  4. Add 4 cups of chicken stock into a pot and bring to boil, then add mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Return to a boil, then turn heat down to medium low, add soy sauce, and boil without lid for 5 minutes.
  5. Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl until cornstarch is fully dissolved in the water.
  6. Add cornstarch-water mixture into soup, stir well. The soup will thicken but it should not be too heavy.
  7. Add chicken from step one into the soup. Return to boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Pour the eggs into the soup in a thin stream while stirring the soup. The egg should be scattered and not clotted.
  9. Add the vinegar and pepper mixture and stir well, then remove from heat immediately.
  10. Add sesame oil and give a final stir. Adjust seasoning if needed. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and red chili pepper if desired.

Enjoy!

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26 thoughts on “Hot and Sour Soup

  1. This looks delicious! I tried a hot and sour soup in my crock pot awhile ago and it was pretty lackluster… this though I will definitely have to try!!

    • Thanks Tracy! I think the key is getting the right balance b/w hot and sour. I felt that using just white pepper was not enough for me, so I added red chili peppers. The sour is coming from vinegar and you can adjust to taste. Let me know what you think if you try!

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