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I always hated this soup growing up and my Daddy always loved it.  It has always been one of his favorites to order at Chinese restaurants and, being and excellent cook, he eventually learned how to make it at home.  But, as I got older and started liking things like onions and spicy food, Hot and Sour Soup started to grow on me.  Forget Chicken Noodle, nothing quite opens up your sinuses like a big bowl of Hot and Sour Soup!

Something I like about my version of this soup is the balance of ingredients, there’s noodles for starch, tofu and eggs for protein and lots of good veggies.  And as with any traditional Chinese dish, there’s a balance of flavors as well.  Also, if you leave out the eggs it’s a vegan soup!

Not hot enough?  Add some rooster sauce!

Not hot enough? Add some rooster sauce!

Hot and Sour Soup

Serves 4-6 – cost approx $.97 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb noodles of your choosing ($.40)
  • 1 oz dried “fungus” or wood ear mushrooms – just two names for the same type of black mushrooms, as they’re commonly labeled in Asian markets. ($.50)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger, cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced ($.15)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in matchsticks ($.24)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced – I used a little of both red and green bell pepper ($.25)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • salt – to taste
  • cayenne pepper – to taste
  • 1/4 cup shaosing rice wine or sherry ($.12)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce ($.12)
  • vegetable stock
  • 8 oz can of bamboo shoot, cut in matchsticks ($.58)
  • 1 lb block of extra firm tofu, cut in matchsticks ($1.68)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar ($.28)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten ($.28)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil

Like I say with all Asian dishes, get all your ingredients out and all you veggies chopped before you start cooking.  Put the fungus in a large bowl and cover with a few cups of hot water, it will rehydrate and expand more than you think! If they’re whole mushrooms, slice them thinly once they’re soft.  Reserve the soaking liquid.

Put a pot of water on to boil and cook the noodles, drain and set aside for later.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot, saute the garlic, ginger, onion, carrot and peppers for 5-10 minutes.  Season with the salt and cayenne pepper.  Deglaze the pan with the shaosing wine or sherry.  Add in the soy sauce, and enough vegetable stock to cover the veggies bout about an inch.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for 5-10 minutes more.  Add in the cooked noodles, bamboo shoots and tofu and bring to a simmer again.  Add in the vinegar and taste to adjust the seasonings, you want it to be a nice balance of hot from the cayenne pepper and sour from the vinegar.

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and some water and mix it in to the soup and bring to a simmer to activate the thickening power of the cornstarch.  Drizzle in the eggs to the soup and take it off the heat to sit until the eggs cook through, about a minute.  Add in the sesame oil and tuck in!

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