I hope my family is not reading this because I have a confession to make. I am finicky about food, soup to be precise. I am not very big on soup, but I like hot and sour soup. Until last week, the only time I get to eat this soup is when we dine at a Chinese restaurant. While I was grocery shopping last Wednesday, I had a sudden craving for hot and sour soup and I wanted to make it at home. I knew that vinegar was part of the ingredients, but didn’t know exactly which kind so I texted my friend for the info. then went home to google a recipe and found Taste Hong Kong’s. It is a very easy and quick recipe, but the result is delicious better than restaurant-made. The recipe is on the lighter side so I adjusted to give it more sour and peppery taste. Since it is a vegetarian recipe, I am also including a non vegetarian option in this post. Veg or non-veg. A bowl of hot and sour soup and some onion pancakes – I am all set.
To make non vegetarian hot and sour soup, use both non-vegetarian ingredients and vegetarian ingredients.
- 1/4 lb tenderloin pork or chicken thigh, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce.
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
In a medium bowl, mix all these ingredients together and set aside while you prepare other ingredients below.
- 6 Fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, thinly sliced (If using dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, squeezed dry, discard stems if attached, thinly sliced)
- 170 g Fresh wood-ear mushrooms, cleaned, thinly julienned (If using dried wood-ear mushrooms, use 1 to 1 1/2 handful, soaked, cut off hard ends if attached, thinly julienned
- 90 g Bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
- 6 slices of ginger, skin removed, thinly julienned
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
- 396 g soft tofu, cubed smallest
- 6 cups water plus 1 teaspoon of dashi (optional: chicken stock, vegetable stock or mushroom stock)
- oil for cooking
- 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 4 1/2 Tablespoons black vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons XO sauce or chili bean sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or more if you like it spicy).
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch *
*Note: To make cornstarch solution as thickener, dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in three tablespoons of cold water . When you are ready to stir this mixture into the soup (step 3), you can make more of this thickener to add if you want thicker soup.
Preparations For Non-Vegetarian Version:
Place a wok or medium size stock pot over a medium-high heat, let it heat up for 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and julienned ginger, wait for 30 seconds and then add marinated meats. Quickly stir-fry for 4 minutes, then follow step 2 and 3 from vegetarian version.
Preparations for Vegetarian Version:
- Place a wok or medium size stock pot over a medium-high heat, and let it heat up for 30 seconds. Add in 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and julienned ginger. Let it cook for 1 minute, and stir occasionally.
- Add in the sliced shiitake mushrooms, stir fry for 1 minute. Without removing shiitake mushrooms, add the wood-ear mushrooms, julienned carrots, bamboo shoots, sesame oil and cook and stir occasionally for 3 minutes until you can smell the fragrant. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir the cooking vegetables for another minute. Then add 6 cups of water or stock to the wok, cover with lid, and turn the heat to high. If using water, you can add 1 teaspoon of dashi to give it more flavor, but dashi is optional.
- Bring the pot of soup to a boil then reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the black vinegar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, XO sauce or chili bean sauce, white pepper powder. Turn the heat back to high and bring the pot to a boil again then reduce heat back to medium-low. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue cooking for 4 minutes, stir occasionally. Taste the soup and adjust the flavor to your liking (you can add more pepper to make it spicier and salt if desired).
Serve it hot with onion pancakes or by itself. Spicy and yummy.