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Warmth From Within

Many of us cook foods on a seasonal rotation. I know I do. There are times when it’s healthy to get outside the box, and try something new. Ever since I started using Napa cabbage, I started digging a little deeper into Asian cooking, beyond stir-frys. We eat lot of soups during the winter, so when the temperature nosedived back into the 30’s the other day I decided to try my hand at a Chinese classic, Hot and Sour Soup. I’ve had it many times in restaurants, but have never tried to make it at home. Had I known how incredibly easy it is to make, I would have tried it sooner. You can keep it vegetarian using firm tofu, or you can make it with a 1/2 pound of cooked ground pork, or thinly sliced pork chops or pork loin. Either way, you will find it delicious!

HOT & SOUR SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock (using homemade stock will definitely give you a MUCH better result)

  2. 8 ounces shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, (I used bella’s), thinly sliced, stems discarded

  3. 1 (8 – ounce can) bamboo shoots, drained and julienned

  4. 1/3 cup rice vinegar, or more to taste

  5. 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

  6. 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  7. 2 generous teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

  8. 1/4 cup cornstarch

  9. 2 large farm-fresh eggs, whisked

  10. 8 ounces firm tofu*, compressed dry with paper towels, then sliced and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

  11. 4 green onions, thinly sliced

  12. 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  13. Kosher salt and white pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set aside 1/4 cup or your chicken or vegetable stock to make a slurry for the soup.

  2. Add remaining 7 3/4 cups of stock, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce to a large stock pot, and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the soup reaches a simmer.

  3. While the soup is heating, whisk together the 1/4 stock that was set aside with the cornstarch in a small bowl until completely smooth. Once the soup has reached a simmer, swirl in the cornstarch mixture pouring it in slowly. Continue to stir until soup has thickened, about 1-2 minutes.

  4. Continue stirring the soup in a circular motion, then drizzle in the eggs in a thin stream as you stir the soup to create egg ribbons. Stir in the tofu, half of the green onions, and sesame oil. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

  5. Serve immediately, garnished with extra green onions.

Serves: 6-8

*NOTE: Consider freezing your tofu before using. This step will help release additional moisture from the tofu, making it firmer.

“Real soup is to the body what peace is to the soul.” ~ Isabel Allende
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