Hot and sour soup is one of these things that seems very simple but when you look at the recipe, the ingredient list seems daunting because it is so long. It’s even worse when you learn that you need some fairly obscure Chinese food ingredients: wood ear mushrooms and lily buds. The thing is, it is actually a fairly simple recipe- it’s just a spicy and sour broth, with vegetables in it, and I made a version based on common ingredients I could get from my local farmers’ market. Napa cabbage makes a very nice subsitution, and the soup reminds me a bit of kimchi jigae (casserole-soup).
It’s very good when you have a cold and need a sinus-clearing soup, but it’s also very comforting in winter. A note- if you are using dried shiitake mushrooms- do not discard the water you use to rehydrate the mushrooms- you can use the liquid as part of the broth for the soup. If there is debris, run mushroom water through a strainer.
Hot and Sour Soup
- 1 1/2 TB sesame oil
1 small onion, quartered and sliced
- however many you want cloves garlic
- 3 TB minced ginger
- 4 cups water or broth (including mushroom water)
- 4 tb soy sauce
- a pinch of two of brown sugar
- dried shiitake mushrooms (from Spain Farm), rehydrated and destemmed and sliced
- 1-2 shredded carrots (from Vollmer Farm)
- 3/4 cup sliced napa cabbage (from Hurtgen Meadows Farm)
- 2 TB minced hot chile peppers (I used my pickled peppers)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 package tofu, sliced in strips
- 5 tB apple cider or rice vinegar
- Heat sesame oil in pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add ginger, garlic, onions and saute until soft and fragrant.
- Add broth, mushrooms cabbage, carrots, jalapeno, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add tofu and vinegar and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Salt to taste with a TB or so of soy sauce. Serve by itself or with rice. You could garnish with cilantro, if desired.