Kicked-Up Hot and Sour Soup
This was the first recipe I recorded in my cooking notebook after I moved out on my own. It was one of the few things my boyfriend knew how to cook, and I’d never had it before. I’ve adapted it a bit over the years, and you can add or remove veggies and meat as you wish. It’s a wonderful cold remedy, and a good inexpensive dinner.
The hot and sour parts are the key – the rest is more up to you and what strikes your fancy.
serves 4 – for a bigger meal, serve with egg rolls or dim sum dumplings
1 L chicken or beef broth (to match the meat you want in your soup – you can substitute veggie broth if you wish)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 500 g beef (choose a steak or roast cut)
3 cm piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped in slivers
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-6 mushrooms ( if you want, use 3 button mushrooms and a few enoji or shitakes)
1 teaspoon five spice
2-3 carrots (if you can find different coloured ones, they look great in the broth)
1 handful of cauliflower or broccoli (you can also substitute gai lan or bok choi if you want Asian veggies)
1 handful of snow or snap peas, or green beans
5 cm piece of zucchini
4 green onions
1 hot pepper (jalapeno will do, or other medium size hot pepper)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilies in oil (this is the HOT element)
5 tablespoons / 150 mL rice vinegar (this is the SOUR element)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
Preheat stock in medium pot . Make sure all veggies and meat are chopped and ready to go.
Heat vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium heat in a stock pot or large wok. Add in garlic and ginger first to enhance flavours, stir quickly and add meat. Sauté until seared on the outside, approximately 3-5 minutes, then add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and five spice; stir. Cook until mushrooms start to sweat, then add other hard veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots). Sauté for 2-3 minutes more, then lower heat to medium-low. Lastly add any softer veggies (peas, choi, zucchini, peppers, green onions) and stir just to combine.
Pour hot broth into pot and reduce heat to simmer. Add soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, chiles to taste and vinegar to taste (I like it spicy so I add the full teaspoon of chiles in oil – start with 1/2 teaspoon and see how you like it.) Add beaten egg while stirring and stir continuously for 1 more minute.
Serve in bowls with spoons and chopsticks.