Hot and Sour Soup

By on February 3, 2014
By Michelle Love, Staff Writer; Art by Daniel Twieg/Photo Editor

Hell hath no fury like Alabama weather. Weather has been so bipolar lately that I have no clue what to expect. But growing up in Alabama I thought I didn’t need to expect snow. Until of course, it does. I don’t need to tell y’all about the snow day we had a few weeks ago. Some of us were lucky enough to be shut into our homes while others were stranded outside on the roads.  Even my cat, who is a notorious panther of a creature that loves the outdoors, wouldn’t venture out into the fluffy winter wonderland. My boyfriend was forced to walk up Brookwood Hill after it was declared too dangerous to drive. Meanwhile, I stayed in bed and watched the USA marathon of “Law and Order: SVU” while I wrote this article. Did I mention there was hot cocoa involved, too? But with that wonderfully cold white stuff comes the horror to all Alabamians: “I need food.”

My mom and I were no exception to the food dilemma. However, unlike some people, we desired more than just bread and milk. But since the roads were closed our options were limited to what we had in our refrigerator. As we made do with Maruchan ramen and left over chili, I thought to myself what I’d rather be eating instead is a delicious order of Chinese food. I don’t know what it is about the cold but it has the ability to round up a craving of spicy garlic pork and dumplings. And then I thought of something I haven’t had in a long time but I knew would instantly hit the spot: hot and sour soup. I’ve always loved it ever since I was a little girl and it would be the perfect remedy to the snow day hunger. So I looked up a few recipes so that I could stock up on hot and sour soup ingredients in anticipation for the next snow day (whenever that may be).

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of mushrooms (shiitake has the best flavor profile for this soup)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili garlic sauce (you can find this in any grocery store)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 8 ounces of soft tofu cut into strips
  • 4 ounces of bamboo shoots drained of juice
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 large egg white scrambled with 1 tablespoon of water

First, bring the broth, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil to a boil. Next, add your mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots and reduce heat to just a simmer. You want the veggies to cook slowly so let the soup simmer for about ten minutes.

In a small bowl, combine your cornstarch and the 3 tablespoons of water. Once combined, stir in to the hot liquid mixture.  Stir constantly as it cooks until the mixture boils and thickens slightly (this should take about two minutes). Take your egg mixture and pour into the soup while stirring constantly.

After the egg has developed egg drop consistency, remove the soup from the stove and serve immediately. This recipe is sure to please your taste buds and may give your favorite restaurant a run for their money. The only thing you’re missing is a fortune cookie.

Happy Eating!

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