Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and Sour soup was a childhood favorite of mine. I love the mildly spicy, salty and sour broth strewn with egg drops. Diving into it was a treasure hunt. What would I find? A bit of pork, a crunchy bamboo shoot, chewy black fungus or the elusive prawn? Living in China, I was always on the lookout for that soup. Once or twice, I even came across it at the odd banquet dinner but alas, as it remained elusive, I had to learn how to make my own.
Black vinegar and white pepper
The key to a good Hot and Sour soup are the ingredients you add in at the end, namely the vinegar and white pepper. The black vinegar provides the sour flavor and the white pepper powder brings a mild heat. Hence the hot and sour. You can try to substitute Chinese black vinegar with a more convenient rice vinegar but if you really want your Hot and Sour soup to shine, invest in some authentic Chinese ingredients. I do what I can by ordering my sauces, fermented black beans, Chinese vinegar, dried chilis and other spices online. You know, the necessary ingredients.
Being that I am currently so far away from Asia, ingredients such as lily bulbs, enoki mushrooms and black fungus are not as easily accessible as they once were which is why I did not add them to this recipe. However, if you can find them and love them, add them to the broth for a more authentic soup. If it is too much hassle, just leave it out. It is every bit as good.
One ingredient that I can find fine and order with ease are tofu skins which is great because I LOVE tofu skins. I love the chewy softness when you bite into them and how they soak up flavors like chili and soy sauce like a dream. For me, they are a pantry must-have. If you are familiar with tofu skins and feel the same way, add them to the soup. If obtaining them is more of a hassle to you, omit them from the recipe.
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup made with silken tofu, tofu skins and Chinese black vinegar. A warming soup that is a meal in itself. #chinese #soup #hotandsour #tofu
8 cups (~1.9 L) of chicken broth
1 inch (2 cm) fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
1 scallion (chopped)
1/2 cup of tofu skins (about 8–10 small stalks)
350 g (~ 12 oz) silken tofu
120 g (~ 4 oz) bamboo shoots
115 g (~1 cup) shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 red chili (stem removed, deseeded and finely chopped)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp and 1 tsp cornstarch
5 tbsp water
175 g (~6 oz) pork shoulder
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp white pepper powder
2–3 tbsp black vinegar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Sherry
1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
chopped scallions (for garnish)
Chop up the white part of one scallion and set aside.
Peel and thinly slice ginger and set aside.
Wipe shitake mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel then thinly slice.
Remove the stem and seeds from a red chili and finely chop.
Cut pork shoulder into thin and long strips. If you are having trouble with this, put the pork shoulder in the freezer for 10-15 min to stiffen it up.
Marinate pork strips in 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Sherry along with 1 tsp of cornstarch, a sprinkling of sea salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar.
If using tofu skins, soak in a bowl of hot water for 10-20 minutes or until it has hydrated and ‘blossoms’.
Drain from water and set aside.
Carefully remove silken tofu from packaging and slice into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes.
Mix 3 tbsp of cornstarch with 5 tbsp of water
In a large pot, bring to boil over high heat chicken broth, sliced ginger and chopped white scallions.
Once at a boil, add tofu skins, silken tofu, bamboo shoots, sliced shitake mushrooms and chopped red chili. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.
Add soy sauce and stir. Cook for a minute or so then add cornstarch mixed with water.
Add marinated pork and cook for 4 minutes on a steady simmer.
Add beaten eggs in slowly, stirring soup as you go. Cook for a minute or so.
Turn off heat and add 1 tsp of white pepper powder dissolved in black vinegar.
Garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.
Vinegar evaporates at high temperatures, so always add it at the end when the cooking has finished otherwise you won’t get that sour taste. This goes for leftovers as well. If you reheat it, make sure to add some extra vinegar to the soup after it has warmed to your liking.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Simmering
- Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords: Chinese, soup, Hot and Sour Soup, tofu, silken tofu, shitake mushrooms, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili, white pepper, pork, pork shoulder, recipe, chicken broth
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