When we first moved to Ponsonby there was a little restaurant in Herne Bay that served a wonderful Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. I instantly fell in love with both its flavour and texture and particularly relished it when I was feeling a little under the weather. It's light and bursting with punchy flavour - and it's filling too so a small bowl is a perfect winter's night dinner.
Hot and Sour Soup is from the Sichuan region of China and has become extremely popular, it is a culinary masterpiece exemplifying yin and yang in both flavour and texture. In Chinese, Hot and Sour is called 酸辣 汤 (suānlà tāng) which literally means “peppered soup with vinegar.” This refers to the potent peppery “hot” flavour derived from ground white peppercorns and the “sour” from the Chinese Black Vinegar. The resulting yin and yang flavours are further complimented by the savoury broth that typically includes pork, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, and eggs, although there are countless variations.
8 oz. pork tenderloin sliced thinly into 2″ pieces (may sub chicken thighs)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms stemmed, sliced ¼” thick
4 green onions, chopped white and green parts separated
1 tablespoon Asian chilli sauce
1 5 oz. can bamboo shoots drained, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water
7-8 oz. firm tofu
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large eggs lightly beaten in a pourable measuring cup
1/3 cup Chinese black vinegar (may sub with 1T balsamic and 1T red wine vinegar)
1/2-1 teaspoon ground white pepper more or less to taste
Salt to taste
Pork: Whisk soy sauce, cornstarch and sesame oil together in a medium bowl. Add pork, stir to coat; let rest while you prep the tofu and veggies (up to 30 minutes).
Tofu: Meanwhile, place the tofu in a pie plate, top with a heavy plate and weigh down with 2 heavy cans (to release water). Set aside for 10 minutes while you finish prepping the ingredients and begin cooking the soup.
Mushrooms and Aromatics: Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes. Add the pork, white part of green onions, chilli paste and bamboo shoots; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add ginger, and garlic and cook for additional 1 minute.
Simmer: Add broth, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar; cover and bring soup to a boil; uncover and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
Thicken: After 5 minutes, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, followed by tofu, green onions and sesame oil; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Eggs: Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Begin stirring the soup in one direction to create a “whirlpool” effect. Slowly drizzle the whisked eggs into the soup while continuing to stir the soup in the same direction. The eggs will spread and feather into ribbons; remove from heat.
Vinegar and Pepper: Just before serving, stir in vinegar and pepper.
Adjust Seasonings: Taste soup, if you’d like a more “sour” soup, add additional vinegar, for a spicier soup, add additional chilli sauce or white pepper.
- Tags: mains