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Hot Sour Soup

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've recently developed a taste for hot sour soup and would like to make it at home. Problem is, the recipes I've seen contain some rather exotic ingredients.

 

I'm not opposed to exotic ingredients per se. But when you live in a culinary desert, as I do, things like sea cucumber and cloud ear fungus are hard to come by, to say the least.

 

Anyone got a recipe that doesn't depend on such over-the-top products?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #2 of 17

I don't have a recipe, really. Just ingredients, everything where quantity matters is done to taste. Everything else doesn't matter so much.

 

Chicken stock. Gets a little infusion with smashed ginger, smashed scallion, and a little shallot/garlic. Also a little star anise and a very little cassia/cinnamon. I like charring the aromatics a little. A touch of shao tsing wine or dry sherry is nice too.

 

The hot part comes from black or white pepper. I like black. This gets added at the end.

 

Sour part is usually unsweetened rice vinegar. Also good is malt vinegar. You can use distilled white, but it lacks flavor notes...

 

Soy sauce. I use dark. Mushroom soy is very good if you can get it. Light (standard) soy is ok too. Using a good brand of soy will make a lot of difference. Kikkomon should be available in your area. I've been liking some of the Chinese brands.

 

That pretty much covers the broth.

 

The basic minimum additions for classic style would be:

Julliened chicken and/or pork.

Tofu, any kind.

Some kind of mushroom.

Beaten egg drizzled into the soup.

 

It gets thickened lightly with cornstarch.

 

Fried wonton strips are nice to sprinkle on as you eat it, but it's hardly traditional.

 

Feel free to play with your muse.

 

If you're in interested in some of the other ingredients, like wood ear, lily bud, etc, we could set up a care package or something. That stuff is fairly cheap out here, and they are dried products so light weight.

post #3 of 17

this is a nice easy version that I enjoyed.

Thai hot and sour soup

 

6 servings     20 min prep time     15 min cook time

 

6c chicken broth

1/2 sliced onion

2 tsp grated ginger

4 shitake mush. sliced

1 c. diced tofu

3 T fish or soy sauce

2T fresh lime juice

1 tsp (or to taste) asian chili sauce

12 shrimp shelled and deveined or thin sliced chicken

2 eggs beaten

1/4 c chopped cilantro.

 

place first 4 ing  in pot ,bring to boil,simmer 5 min.

add tofu cook 1 min.

stir in fish/soy sauce,lime juice , chili sauce.simmer 5 min.

add shrimp

slowly stir in eggs with fork.when eggs form threads remove from heat . Add cilantro.

 

to make like Chinese style

 

add white vinegar instead of lime juice.use soy not fish sauce.after eggs are cooked add 1 tsp sesame oil and 2 chopped green onions.

 

hope this helps.

post #4 of 17

You can substitute fairly freely and still have a fairly similar result. The soup is more folk medicine than high flavor ingredients. I don't think I've seen a local restaurant use the lily buds and the tree ears/cloud ears are often absent.

 

I consider the bamboo pretty essential personally, but that should be available at most mainstream grocers in my experience. And I'd stick with plain light soy sauce vs dark.

 

The choice of vinegar is more important I think than has been indicated above. The traditional choice is chinkiang or black vinegar, a fairly mild vinegar more like an inexpensive balsamic than anything else. Most balsamic is more acidic though. And balsamic brings some sweetness that isn't normally found, but not enough to matter. Cook's Illustrated has their version of hot and sour with balsamic and other mainstream substitutions in their Best International Recipe. It's an interesting mainstreaming and you may find it useful. I'll pm it to you to stay in accordance with out copyright guidelines.

 

I thought they went too far personally, but many people have expressed liking it.

 

But you should do some googling on asian grocers so the next time you're in a city with one you can stock up. Most everything you buy will be shelf stable at least until you open it and even then will often still be shelf stable or keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys. This all sounds doable.

 

I saw your PM, Phil. That sounds like the way to go for my first attempt.

 

Here's another question. Friend Wife doesn't care for hot sour soup. So, does it keep well in the fridge? Or does it freeze readily? I'm thinking especially about freezing, cuz if that works I can put it up in portion sizes and have it for lunch whenever I wish.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 17

Yeah, it will keep and freeze ok.

 

Chinkiang vinegar? I must admit, it didn't occur to me to use that for soup. I mostly use it for dipping.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

I've recently developed a taste for hot sour soup and would like to make it at home. 



Soooo, you're eating tofu and liking it now? After years of claiming it wasn't food?

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

No, I'm not liking it, Phil. But I find it tolerable in the h&s.

 

Food? I don't think so. And the fact is, if the tofu wasn't included I wouldn't miss it at all.

 

Hey! You think mebbe hot & sour was invented to hide the texture and tastelessness of tofu? tongue.gif

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 17

I have been stopping at little local joints for H&S. at lunch time.

Boy 2 worlds, with real stock and canned. The heat is from the pepper?

It is probably my imagination but with little garnish it's filling to me. It seems to satisfy me

for a long period of time. Would this have anything to do with ingredients? I've never made this

at home but would like to.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just an update.

 

I used the CI recipe that Phil had sent, slightly modified. Friend Wife doesn't handle hot too well, so I omitted the chili oil, then added a bit of sriracha to my serving. Came out perfect!

 

This is going to be a regular menu item from now on, particularly as the cooler weather is coming in.

 

Thanks, all.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 17

Good to hear it.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #12 of 17

In the hot & sour soup I have come to know and love, the heat comes from pepper flakes, pretty much the same things that people shake on their pizzas. Any recipe I see that includes black (or even white) pepper I reject out of hand.

 

Regarding tofu, it is just filler, and is not at all necessary to the soup or to life in general. Nor have Asians been eating it for centuries, as the health Nazis claim. The soup is much better without it, and in fact, unfermented soy is not at all good for you, no matter what the veggies claim. It is NOT a complete protein, and in fact inhibits the assimilation of vitamin B-12. It is also associated with thyroid problems, and I personally know several former tofu nuts who had thyroid trouble as a result of it. One even had to have part of his removed.

 

Much better to eat the soup with only the mushrooms, bamboo, and so on. Get your protein from real meat. Hot and sour soup is great stuff, but accusing someone of liking tofu because they suddenly discovered it is rather like accusing someone of being an Art Garfunkel fan because they suddenly discovered Paul Simon.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tofu support, Cornelius. I appreciate the effort.

 

One danger of coming in in the middle of a conversation, however, is that you aren't aware of all the nuances Phil wasn't making an accusation, in the sense you mean it. He was just pulling my chain a bit, based on previous comments through the years.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 17

So what was the final recipe?  Hot and sour soup is wonderful in cooler weather.

post #15 of 17


Posted by Cornelius View Post

In the hot & sour soup I have come to know and love, the heat comes from pepper flakes, pretty much the same things that people shake on their pizzas. Any recipe I see that includes black (or even white) pepper I reject out of hand.

 

Regarding tofu, it is just filler, and is not at all necessary to the soup or to life in general. Nor have Asians been eating it for centuries, as the health Nazis claim. The soup is much better without it, and in fact, unfermented soy is not at all good for you, no matter what the veggies claim. It is NOT a complete protein, and in fact inhibits the assimilation of vitamin B-12. It is also associated with thyroid problems, and I personally know several former tofu nuts who had thyroid trouble as a result of it. One even had to have part of his removed.

 

Much better to eat the soup with only the mushrooms, bamboo, and so on. Get your protein from real meat.


The San Gabriel Valley, where I live, is one of the world's Meccas of Chinese cuisine -- at least outside of China.  My experience eating here contradicts everything you claim.  More often than not, the "hot" comes from pulverized white pepper or a combination of white and tien tsin (szichuan), lu yan, and/or sambal; and tofu -- in the form of pinyin -- is nearly always part of the soup.  Whether the soup is Hunan, Szichuan, Chiu Chow, Tai-wan, HK, etc, that's nearly always the way it is with tofu skin and white pepper both present. 

 

You qualified your sentence with "come to know and love," but I have to wonder how typical that soup is, how wide spread your experience and what facts you have to back up your assertions.  For instance, the evidence I've seen after doing a little research is pretty conclusive that tofu has been popular in China since 1000 AD.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/31/11 at 9:45pm
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

dledmo, it's Cook's Illustrated version. I don't have a link to it, but perhaps it can be found at their site? 

 

BDL: You're right, of course. In virtually every recipe I've seen the heat comes primarily from white (usual) or black pepper. As to tofu, well, I guess you could leave it out. But then it would be a different soup, as it's always a key ingredient---unfortunately.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #17 of 17

Thanks KY, I will check their site and also my local library for one of their books.  Gotta love libraries, I take my kids every few weeks and love to grab a cook book even if it is just to look at the pictures!!!

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