Real hot and sour soup is basically vegetarian (if you take egg) with tofu, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts or can be seafood-based with shrimp/prawns. It also uses cornstarch to thicken the broth, which- after a year of experimenting with it -I've decided is just too much trouble to even keep in my kitchen. If you've never had the pleasure of real hot and sour soup, take this recipe as a homemade introduction, but definitely keep an eye out for it next time you have Chinese!
What was so fun about this recipe was that on an otherwise distressful night where I had somehow managed to forget to plan dinner and found myself with just two pork chops and a dare by my boyfriend to turn them into soup, I was struck by inspiration and was somehow able to throw this together entirely with staple ingredients in my kitchen. Which makes this awesome spicy soup entirely within anyone's grasp!
- 2 pork chops
- 2 1/2 cups (500mL) chicken broth / water with stock cube
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs white vinegar
- a hefty dose of chili powder (abt 1 Tbs)
- black pepper (abt 1 tsp)
- 1 tsp Sambal chili paste OR chili flakes (the pizza topping)
- 2-3 medium carrots
- 2-3 white mushrooms
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 eggs
- a tiny chunk of ginger (abt 1/2 inch of the root)
- 2 servings cooked rice
- a dash of coriander
- Bring the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chili powder, pepper and chili to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut the pork chops into thin slices and add to the broth.
- Cut the carrots and mushrooms into long, thin-ish slices (julienne if you will) and chop the onions and ginger as much as possible.
- Add the veggies to the pot, turn down the heat and let simmer for about half an hour.
- When the half hour is finished, crack the eggs in a small bowl and scramble. Turn the heat off the soup, drop in the egg and lightly swirl it around a bit. Serve over rice or with the rice on the side and garnish with a dash of coriander.
- Ready to eat!
- You don't have to use pork, of course. You could go without meat or substitute shrimp instead. If you do use pork, though, try to get have it as thin as possible. Here they have great thin "schnitzel" cuts of pork that all I have to do is quickly chop into a few pieces. Otherwise, you can get a couple thick pork chops and cut it into thin strips.
- My proportions are a bit on the spicy side. You may want to start lighter.
- I realize ginger is probably not a "staple" for most people. It's not really essential, but it lends a good balance to the soup. Ginger is cheap and lasts for weeks, have fun and grab a root!