This quick and simple, heart-warming hot and sour soup can be made in minutes, using what you already have to hand at home. This is a real favourite of mine. I love adding extra black vinegar to give it an even tangier edge. For a more ‘authentic’ version you can use shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms, dried lily flowers and thin slices of cooked pork shoulder or ham.
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Hot and Sour Soup
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, (34 fl oz/4 cups)
- 3½ tablespoons light soy sauce
- 100 ml black or rice wine vinegar 100 ml, (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules, or freshly grated garlic 1
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or grated fresh ginger root
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder, mild/medium/hot
- white pepper large pinch
- pinch salt
- 100 g mushrooms, (3½ oz)
- 100 g bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced lengthways (3½ oz)
- handfull cooked ham/chicken/tofu, thinly sliced, optional
- handful rehydrated shiitake/wood ear mushrooms or lily flowers, optional
- 3 tablespoons cornflour, cornstarch paste
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 large spring onions, scallions, thinly sliced diagonally, to garnish
- Put the stock in a saucepan, add the soy sauce, black or rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, chilli, white pepper and salt and bring to the boil, then add the fresh mushrooms, bamboo shoots and any meat or tofu, shiitake/wood ear mushrooms or lily flowers and simmer for a couple of minutes to heat through.
- Start by adding 2 tablespoons of cornflour paste, then bring to the boil. If the soup is not thick enough, add more paste, a teaspoon at a time, and let it come to the boil after each addition.
- Using a wooden spoon, swirl the soup, then tip in the beaten eggs and keep stirring – this will give you flecks of egg through the soup.
- Toss in the spring onions, taste and add a little more vinegar if you want it more ‘sour’, or more chilli powder if you want it spicier.
Simply Chinese by Suzie Lee (Hardie Grant, £20), Photography © Lizzie Mayson