Mandarin's Hot & Sour Soup
This classic Chinese soup easily converts to a vegetarian offering by omitting the chicken or pork and using vegetable broth instead of chicken. Hot and sour soup is reputed to be good for colds – the Chinese equivalent to chicken noodle soup.
• 4 Cups chicken broth
• 1 Tbsp mushroom-flavoured soy sauce
• 1 tsp white pepper
• 5 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
• 5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 ½ tsp granulated sugar
• 4-5 button mushrooms, sliced
• ½ can thinly sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained well
• ½ medium carrot, thinly sliced
• ¼ lb. firm tofu, drained, patted dry, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 Cup thinly sliced Chinese barbecued pork or cooked
boneless, skinless chicken breast
• ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
• 2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water
• 1 egg, beaten
• 2 tsp sesame oil
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
In a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Stir in the soy sauce, white pepper, black vinegar, rice wine vinegar and sugar.
Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrot, tofu, pork or chicken and red pepper flakes. Simmer the soup for 2 minutes.
Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer 2 minutes more.
Gently stir in the beaten egg. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and sprinkle with green onions.
*Chinese black mushrooms are an excellent alternative to button mushrooms in this recipe. Simply soak dried Chinese black mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes or until softened, strain and slice.
Photo and recipe: Mandarin Restaurants