Much as I enjoy a blue fillet steak or a bacon sandwich, there are times when it feels good to lay off the meat and enjoy meals without. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavour though. Hot and Sour Soup is perfect for days like these. Filling, warming, and full of exciting flavours. If you want to add cooked chicken or prawns though, go ahead. Extra vegetables? Go for it!
This version was inspired by a recipe from a much used and favoured cookbook, Gok Cooks Chinese. Although my predictive text called him God. He’s good, but not quite THAT good!
Ingredients (to serve 4 generously)
- 1.5 litres of light, unsalted vegetable stock or use water
- 50g approx of mushrooms, sliced (I used chestnut with a few shitake)
- 1-2 fresh red chillis, finely sliced (or a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes) depending on how hot you like your soup
- 50ml light soy sauce
- Approx 3 heaped tablespoons of thinly sliced bamboo shoots (I used tinned, drained bamboo)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and very finely sliced then diced
- 5cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated (or use frozen chopped ginger)
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and grated or crushed
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 4-6 tablespoons of rice vinegar (to taste)
- Optional 2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour dissolved in a little cold water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Finely chopped spring onion or chives to serve
Bring the stock to a gentle boil and add the carrot. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add all the ingredients except the cornflour, vinegar, egg and spring onion.
Simmer for about 10 minutes then gradually add the vinegar, tasting as you go until it reaches a level of sourness you enjoy.
If you prefer a slightly thickened soup, add two heaped teaspoons of cornflour to about 50mls of cold water and add to the simmering soup. Allow to thicken (this will take a minute or two).
Turn off the heat and add the egg, whisking as you do to create fine ribbons of cooked egg. Serve garnished with the finely sliced spring onion and marvel that it was quicker to prepare than ordering and waiting for a takeaway delivery.
(For a gluten free option use tamari instead of soy sauce and omit the cornflour).