I absolutely love hot and sour soup…but I’m always dissatisfied with what I get from Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. Great hot and sour soup needs to have a nice viscosity and the perfect balance of heat, tartness and umami. After a few rounds of practice, I’ve landed on a recipe for hot and sour soup that I actually love.
Serves: 4 as an appetizer or side course
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
4 dried black mushrooms or 8 dried shitake
1 oz dried bean thread noodles
4 cups chicken stock
3 ounces boneless lean pork, cut into strips about 1/4″ x 2″
1/3 cup carrot matchsticks
8 oz tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup of canned bamboo shoots, sliced in half lengthwise
3 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp chile garlic sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 scallions (green parts only), sliced diagonally into thin rounds
Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour enough hot water over the mushrooms to cover completely. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and soak about 30 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Drain the mushrooms, squeeze out any excess water and cut into thin slices, discarding the hard stems. Put them in a small bowl and set aside.
While the mushrooms are softening, put the bean thread noodles in a separate bowl and pour enough warm water over the bean thread noodles to cover them. Soak the noodles for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and cut the noodles into 4″ lengths, and set aside.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the mushrooms, pork and carrot, and simmer about 2 minutes.
Stir in the noodles, tofu, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, chili garlic sauce, sugar and pepper. Simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Turn up the temperature until the soup is lightly bowling. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch mixture, and cook at a boil until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in half of the beaten egg, stirring constantly to create egg ‘threads’ in the hot and sour soup. If you think you need more egg, add more while stirring.
Taste the soup for seasoning, and add ketchup, soy and vinegar as needed until you get the flavor you want.
Ladle your tasty hot and sour soup into bowls and garnish with green onions.