Confession 101 – I used to think making Chinese Hot & Sour Soup required major effort, boy was I so wrong. I also thought the heat from the soup came from some kind of chili sauce or chili oil. I swore some of the ones I had in Chinese restaurants had streaks of red chili oil floating on them. Double mistakes.
The heat actually comes from the use of white pepper (yes, use only white pepper and not black) and the sour taste is from the vinegar (pretty obvious). When it comes to the type of vinegar used, although the original recipe uses white vinegar, I prefer to go with black vinegar. Beside the sharp tangy flavor, it has a tinge of sweet and earthy undertone.
This fairly straight forward recipe uses ingredients that can be found easily in all Asian grocer stores or supermarkets. It takes only about 15 mins to put everything together and if you are planning to make this ahead of time, hold off from adding the cornstarch mixture until you are ready to serve.
Half piece canned bamboo shoots – julienne
1 small carrot – julienne
2 slices ginger – julienne
2 dried Chinese mushrooms (soaked in water until soften) – slice thinly
2 pieces dried black fungus (soak in water until soften) – slice thinly
Half piece soft tofu – slice thinly
½ egg – beaten
500 ml chicken stock
Spring onion – to garnish
Optional: sliced pork, chicken or even seafood
2 tsp white pepper
2 – 3 tbsp white vinegar (or more if you like it sour) – I used black vinegar
¼ tsp salt
½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Few dashes dark soy sauce – for color
3 tsp cornstarch + 3 tbsp water (to thicken the soup)
Recipe source: Food Paradise TV (slight modification)
Prepare all the ingredients by cutting them into even sizes.
In a medium pot, add in chicken stock and bring to boil.
Add in carrot, ginger, Chinese mushroom and dried black fungus. Bring to boil again.
Lower heat and cook for 10 mins.
Add in all the seasoning except cornstarch mixture and stir well. Give it a taste and adjust with more vinegar, pepper or sesame oil if needed.
Add in the cornstarch slowly and keep stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
You might have to use more or less. It is better to add less and adjust with more if needed.
Add in the tofu and lastly, drizzle the beaten egg while stirring the soup.
Serve hot and garnish with spring onions.