Do you ever feel like shaking up your taste buds in the winter? Perhaps this desire accompanies our New Year’s resolutions or maybe having an out-of-the-ordinary taste sensation is just what the doctor ordered to shake up the gloomy winter days.
Well friends, this soup will indeed shake up those ‘buds’, in addition to warming you through to your bones and blasting away any potential cold with hot chili sauce!
I was sifting through Food52’s recipes one day looking for something to satisfy my soup with egg cravings when I stumbled on a hot and sour soup by Joanne Cheng, a modern, easier version of the traditional soup*, which usually incorporates harder-to-find ingredients such as wood ear mushrooms, pork loin strips and lily buds**(see note below on using fresh daylily buds).
Hot and Sour soup uses pork as the flavour base, which no doubt ‘makes’ the recipe and certainly off-sets the copious amounts of rice vinegar typically used. So the challenge here was to make a no-meat version, while keeping many of the traditional seasonings, including the whisked egg, which does double-duty as a thickener and beautifier, with its yellow ribbons decorating the surface (my favourite part).
The rice vinegar is greatly reduced and partially replaced by fresh orange juice, and instead of pork, I used baked tofu, which was marinated in similar Asian flavourings. From a 350g block of tofu you can make more than two servings of protein. So to make the soup a meal, you can either use the extra tofu, or set some aside for use during the week, and instead bulk up the meal with a side of brown rice. For example, I’ve used the extra tofu to add quick protein to pasta dishes when I’m in a rush to make dinner mid-week.
*I rarely make traditional Chinese or even Japanese soups at home as the right ingredients can be hard to find. This Christmas however, I took the time to drop by several Asian markets and found not only the ingredients I needed, but in one of the quieter stores, received some excellent tips for making dashi (fish stock) from a Japanese employee who was also a passionate cook. I cherish these moments that would never occur in a big box store.
**In season you could use daylily buds if you’re growing them at home, just for fun. See the detailed flavour descriptions of eating sautéed lily buds (the unopened daylily flowers) and tubers on the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog; I am keen to try eating the tubers this summer- apparently they taste like jícama or sweet, young fingerling potatoes.
Serves 2 with large bowls or 4 with small bowls
Vegelicious Hot & Sour Soup
Serves 2 (large bowls) or 4 (small bowls)
350g extra-firm tofu, marinated, see my favourite recipe here
If using tofu, make this first, so that it can bake while you make the soup.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger (fresh or finely grated with the peel on if frozen)
4 green onions/scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced, plus more for garnish
4 cups low-sodium, organic chicken stock
3 medium button or brown/crimini mushrooms, wiped or rinsed on top and thinly sliced
3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced -use fresh or dried (rehydrate in boiled water for 15 minutes))
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tbsps rice vinegar, or to taste
¼ cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, or less/to taste if using regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
Sriracha to taste, or other hot sauce (I used 1 tsp Cholula)
2 large eggs
- In a saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic, ginger, and scallions, and cook, stirring a couple times, for about 1 minute.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add the mushrooms, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and hot sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Taste the soup at this point. Add more hot sauce or vinegar as desired.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, gently whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer.
- Divide the tofu first, followed by ladling the soup, among 2 to 4 bowls and garnish each with green onion/scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.