Today’s recipe is made just for you inspired by one of you! I got an email from reader Shannan who wanted to know how to make her favorite chinese soup at home. She’s a vegetarian so the recipe below is also herbivore-friendly, but I added pork to mine (as you’ll note in the pictures). She is a kitchen newbie, so I’ve provided more in-depth directions in certain places.
If you add ground pork to yours you can either cook this separately and add it into the soup, or (and I prefer this method) slice the pork into long strings and add the raw pork during the broth step and allow the heat from the broth to slow cook the pork pieces with all the flavors of your soup.
Hot N Sour Soup
–Olive oil or vegetable oil
–1 package extra firm tofu
–5 fresh shitakke mushrooms, sliced
–1 8oz. can of sliced bamboo shoots
–chili sauce (I like Sriracha which I forever refer to as “rooster”)
–1 32oz. box of vegetable broth (use chicken broth if not vegetarian)
–1/8 cup lime juice
–2 tbsp. corn starch
–1 egg, beaten
–1 bunch of spinach, thoroughly washed and torn into large pieces
–1 bunch of green onions, green parts chopped into thin slices
Drain the tofu. Obviously you’re going to dump the liquid that it comes in, but the tofu has also sucked up more liquid. The trick when cooking tofu is to get out as much of the water as possible. You can use cheesecloth to drain it. Another easy way to do this is to put the block of tofu into a strainer with a bowl underneath. Put a small plate face down into the strainer. Push the plate against the tofu block to squeeze the water out of it. Cut the block of tofu into evenly sized (mouth-friendly) squares like a tic-tac-toe board.
Cut the mushrooms into thin slices along the length of the mushroom, keeping the shape and the stem intact.
MAKING THE SOUP:
Pour a quarter-sized dollop of olive or vegetable oil into a large stock pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes before adding the ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly for 2-ish minutes.
Add the tofu, mushrooms, and the bamboo shoots to the pan and keep stirring. Add a few splashes of soy sauce. Add a few dollops of chili sauce. This part is totally to your taste. If you want a spicier soup add more chili, less spicy, add more soy sauce. Cook this mixture until the mushrooms cooks down some and shrink and begin to get tender (maybe 10-ish minutes).
Pour in the box of chicken broth and turn the heat up to high. You want this to get a nice boil.
While you wait for the soup to boil, pour the lime juice into a measuring cup. Take one tablespoon of the corn starch and add it to the lime juice. Stir it well until it dissolves. Add the second tablespoon of starch and stir that up until it dissolves. Once the soup comes to a big boil, add this lime juice mixture by stirring with one hand while you pour the mixture with the other hand.
Now take the egg and if you haven’t already, crack it into a small bowl and beat it. With one hand, stir the pot of soup. With the other hand pour the egg into the soup in a steady stream.
Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. Crack some fresh black pepper into it. Stir and serve!