There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of Hot and Sour Soup on a wintry day to relieve that congested feeling. It was primarily a specialty from the Sichuan region and steadily turned out to be the most opted appetizer by masses across the globe.
Hot and Sour Soup
A vegetarian adaptation of this soup can be prepared by swapping the pork with sweet corn, shredded cabbage, pak choi, French beans, bean sprouts and adding vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Preparation Time- 50 minutes
Cooking Time- 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time- 2 hour, 20 minutes
The secret to delicious hot and sour soup is basically preparing a good quality stock. Chicken is the chosen meat here for stock preparation though pork too can be included.
Chicken whole (900 grams)
Scallions cut into halves (1/2 cup or half a bunch)
Ginger mashed (1.5 inch)
White pepper (half teaspoon)
Garlic pods mashed (2)
Spanish onion (1 medium-sized, cut in half)
Water (1.5 litres)
In a large deep pot place the bird along with the scallions and other ingredients and add around 1.5 litres of water for covering it by around an inch or so. Gentle, slow simmering for sixty minutes is advised with the lid open and any froth should be skimmed away from the top layer at periodic intervals.
Now meticulously take out the bird and sieve the stock which is ready to use for your hot and sour soup recipe. You’ll get around a litre of chicken stock by following this recipe.
Hot and Sour Soup Recipe
The quintessence of a satisfying hot and sour soup is to balance the spicy and sour flavours that come from chilli peppers and vinegar respectively by addition of a dash of sugar.
Dried cloud ear fungus / button/ shiitake/ portobello mushrooms (5)
Vegetable oil (1 tablespoon)
Dry garlic (quarter teaspoon)
Dried daylily buds (quarter cup)
Ginger chopped (half-inch)
Distilled white vinegar (30 ml)
Bamboo Sprouts juliennes (one-quarter cup)
Regular soy sauce (30 ml)
Brown sugar (1 teaspoon)
Thai chillies or red chili peppers (half tablespoon)
Paprika (1/2 teaspoon)
Tofu slivers (quarter cup)
Grounded white peppercorns (half teaspoon)
Cornflour (1 tablespoon)
Water (1/4 cup)
Ground pork, crumbled (50 grams)
Chicken Stock (1 litre)
Salt to taste
Green onions and coriander leaves, finely diced for garnishing (1 tablespoon)
Sesame seed oil (1/2 teaspoon)
For reconstitution purposes immerse the dried cloud ear fungus and the daylily buds into a vessel filled with searing water for around 25-30 minutes. Next the Chinese mushrooms are to be drained, rinsed and sliced into small pieces whilst discarding any tough clumps in the cores.
Place a bowl-shaped frying pan over moderate heat and pour some oil into it. Now the mushrooms, bamboo sprouts, daylily buds, ground pork, thai or red chilli peppers, dry garlic, brown sugar, white pepper, chopped ginger and salt are to be added to the vessel and cooked with vigorous stirring for instilling the flavours.
Continue doing so for around three minutes till the pork has cooked. Now all the liquid condiments are to be poured into the pan and keep tossing together for proper amalgamation. The recently prepared chicken stock is then to be poured in and let the mixture bubble. Allow simmering for about fifteen minutes and then add the slivers of tofu.
Continue cooking for another five minutes after which the semi-liquid mix of cornflour dissolved in water is to be added to the soup and keep simmering till the consistency turns thick. Take off the stove and in circular stirring motions add the well-beaten egg in slowly so that threads or strands are formed in the soup that cook almost instantaneously.
Lastly garnish with chopped coriander leaves and scallions and a drizzle of sesame seed oil for a shimmering look and smoky flavouring.