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Hot and Sour Soup

From Everyday Food: Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart Living

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes (a very generous 20 minutes – plan on longer if you don’t have all your ingredients prepped, which can take a bit of time)
Total time: 20 minutes

  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used a granule-style bouillon mix with hot water, because that’s what we do here)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced (about 4 cups) (Shiitake mushrooms are expensive, so we only bought one container instead of 2, and halved the recipe, which worked good for 2 people)
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (in halving the recipe, I still used a whole egg, and it was fine)
  • ½ package (7 ounces) soft or firm tofu, cut into ¾-inch cubes, drained well (I also used the full amount of tofu instead of halving it, and probably cut smaller cubes than I was supposed to)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (splurge on this ingredient if you haven’t before – a good-sized piece should cost you less than a dollar, and this adds the “hot” to the soup more than a powdered ginger spice would)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

hot_sour_soup_ingredients.JPG

Note on preparing tofu:
Be sure to drain the tofu thoroughly before adding it to the soup so it will soak up the flavor of the broth. (I used “firm” tofu and it worked great in this, though I imagine medium or soft would be fine as well, since it is a fairly delicate soup.)

  1. In a large (5-quart) pot, combine the broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms; reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. hot_sour_soup1.JPG

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tablespoons of the vinegar and the cornstarch. Add to the pot; simmer, stirring, until the soup is thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the egg through a slotted spoon, and stir to form ribbons (this really works! I was dubious, but if you look at the picture below enlarged, you can see lots of tiny ribbons, and those are the egg!). Stir in the tofu. Remove from the heat; let stand, covered, for 1 minute. Put the ginger in a small sieve, and squeeze to release its juice into the soup (discard the solids). (I didn’t have a small sieve, so here’s what I did: I grated the ginger with a very fine cheese grater into a small dish, like the ingredients above are in. Then I let it sit while I cooked. It started to loose its juice over time, and then I just took a small spoon and smooshed the ginger pulp against the side of the dish, squeezing out the juice. I removed the leftover solid pulp, and added the juice to the soup.) Taste; add the remaining Tablespoon vinegar, if desired (I didn’t think it needed it). Serve sprinkled with the scallions.

hot_sour_soup2.JPG

Delicious (I had two bowls), and we will definitely make this again! This is one of the most edible ways I’ve ever had tofu, and I may be searching out some more soup-tofu recipes soon. I’d suggest serving with bread or something, just because it is soup and therefore not entirely substantial, but it has enough bulk that if you’re not starving, it’ll do the trick. A very good dinner, and a little out of the ordinary for us.

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