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Jaymes

Hot & Sour Soup

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I love it.

I've never made it.

Now I want to try.

Any tips, hints? Good recipes to share?

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'S'great.

Good stock (mixed chicken, pork, seafood). Some rice vinegar, some mirin (or sugar), Chinese cooking wine, salt, white pepper, sliced shitake, cloud fungus, bamboo shoots cut into strips, fresh water chestnuts, odd bits of pork or other meats, thicken with corn starch slurry; add silken tofu, some beaten egg and chile oil at the end.

Scallion pancakes.

I like one that makes me break into a sweat.

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This sounds really yicky but the standard Chinese version should contain solidify duck's blood, which is one main reason that I stay away from it. In addition, to Jin's list , sometimes there people add straw mushrooms and baby corn.

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Chinese Hot & Sour Soup

------------------------------------------

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken stock

1/4 lb julienned lean pork or chicken

2 tbsp garlic & red chile paste

2 tbsp soy sauce

3/4 tsp ground white pepper

4 eggs, beaten

5 tbsp cornstarch

1 cup sliced shittake mushrooms

1 can peeled straw mushrooms

1 can sliced bamboo shoots

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1 can baby corn ears

1 cake soft tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch cubes

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup dried black fungus (cloud ears), soaked in water for one hour, drained and sliced.

finely chopped scallions for garnish

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Preparation:

1. Bring stock to a simmer, add soy, pork, mushrooms & chile paste, simmer for 10 minutes.

2. add pepper, vinegar, bamboo, baby corn, water chestnuts, fungus and tofu, simmer 10 min

3. Mix cornstarch with 5 tbsp water and add. bring back to a simmer and pour the eggs in a very thin stream over the surface. Let stand for 10 seconds before gently stirring in the sesame oil.

4. serve with a garnish of chopped scallions. The pepper, vinegar and chile paste can be varied to taste.

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Back 10 odd years ago when I was on my Chinese cooking spree, I tried making about 10 versions of this soup and wasn't happy with any of them. I haven't tried it since. I think it is time to try again.

now if only I could find fresh water chestnuts.................

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Scallion pancakes.

Scallion pancakes go with everything.

Homemade stock is very important. Every time I've made hot and sour and home and been disappointed, it was because I'd resorted to canned stock. I think canned stock is fine for a lot of things, but not this.

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I love it.

I've never made it.

Now I want to try. 

Any tips, hints?  Good recipes to share?

HOT & SOUR SOUP

One of the most well known Szechuan preparations, Hot & Sour Soup’s popularity grew out of America’s introduction to authentic regional Chinese cuisine in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Unfortunately Hot & Sour Soup is frequently not prepared and seasoned properly, and it is so strongly flavored that when you get it wrong it may not be too palatable.

You should start with a good chicken stock. I use a homemade one prepared from six pounds of bones, a few slices of ginger and a couple of scallions. I cover the bones with cold water, bring the whole thing to a boil, skim it well, add the ginger and scallion, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook it for 2-3 hours. I pass the finished stock through a very fine strainer and skim off any surface fat. It’s then ready to use. Easy. By the way, a canned broth will work reasonably well.

I haven’t worked out the exact proportions for this recipe, but I tried to guess and also give you enough additional information so that you can get a good result.

To make the soup bring a quart of stock to the boil and add:

3/4 cup shredded bamboo shoots

1/4 lb finely shredded fresh pork, marinated if you like (a little egg white, sherry, salt, cornstarch)

3/4 cup rehydrated and coarsely chopped tree ear

1/4 cup soaked and trimmed tiger lily buds

Bring the soup to a boil again stirring so that the pork shreds separate from one another. Skim away and discard any foam that rises to the top.

Next season the soup with soy (enough to make it brown), salt, 1t MSG (if desired), 2T Shaoshing rice wine or dry sherry, and white vinegar to taste. Start with a 1/4-cup of vinegar and add more according to your taste. Sample the soup; it should be savory and have a lot of flavor without being over salted. Next make the soup spicy by adding a considerable amount (1t) of finely ground white pepper. You should now adjust the seasonings checking for salinity, depth of flavor, spiciness and tartness.

With the soup at a full boil and stirring constantly, mix in enough (maybe 3-4T) cornstarch slurry (cornstarch dissolved in water) to thicken the soup to the right creamy consistency. Add the slurry a little at a time and then wait for the soup to return to the boil and thicken some more. Keep doing this until you have the right texture. Next add a cake of coarsely shredded firm beancurd and again let the soup return to the boil. Remove and discard any foam that floats to the top.

When the soup is boiling briskly again, using a circular motion, pour in 2 beaten eggs (you can add a drop of slurry to them) and stir the pot just once to gently move the eggs around creating large ribbons of egg drop. Taste the soup for seasoning again; adding the cornstarch may have changed the flavor balance a little. When serving, top each portion with 1/4t sesame oil and a little chopped scallion.

Note: Properly prepared Hot & Sour Soup never contains chiles or chile oil. Its spiciness is only from white pepper. In a more elaborate variation we might also add some shredded ham and some shredded red beancurd (duck blood cake) to the soup.

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Thanks, EwithE.

I think I'll skip the duck's blood. Believe me, my crowd will never know the dif... :biggrin:

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Eddie, I didn't know hot&sour "properly prepared" doesn't contain chile or chile oil.

I'm sure almost every version I've ever had did. I'll often make a plain congee with massive amounts of white pepper so know the flavour well.

For hot&sour I'm afraid I'm going to have to be improper because I want that extra blast.

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Eddie, I didn't know hot&sour "properly prepared" doesn't contain chile or chile oil.

Your misunderstanding is a commonly held belief. Yes, let me repeat myself, a correctly made Hot & Sour Soup is spicy only from lots of finely ground white pepper. It can be very spicy prepared this way. By the way, in this part of the world I usually see H&S spiced with white pepper not chiles. It may well be different in Canada. That would be an interesting fact if it were really so.

If you like chile oil or paste or a different hot sauce, I would suggest adding it after the fact, just the way anyone who likes a hot sauce on their food would add it as a condiment.

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Ed, the chile oil has usually been visible on the surface of the soups I've had. Anyone else in Canada?

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Scallion pancakes.

Can we have a thread about these? Ever since I read the article in "Simple Cooking" (Mamster's?), I have been salivating for these. I even moved to SF to find them and have been unsuccessful. I'll definitely cook them but I'd like to try them first. Any suggestions? (Sorry, a little off-topic but that article made me crazy to try these.)

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Ed, the chile oil has usually been visible on the surface of the soups I've had. Anyone else in Canada?

The 'proper' oil to float on top is sesame oil. Standing by my guns!

But of course you should eat it the way you enjoy it.

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No guns, Ed, but the oil is reddish. :wink:

I totally believe you. It's just not the classic way.

Chinese cooking is famous for its adaptations. I look for and relish them and catalogue them (in my mind). This sounds like another chapter.

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Scallion pancakes.

Can we have a thread about these? Ever since I read the article in "Simple Cooking" (Mamster's?), I have been salivating for these. I even moved to SF to find them and have been unsuccessful. I'll definitely cook them but I'd like to try them first. Any suggestions? (Sorry, a little off-topic but that article made me crazy to try these.)

Yangtze River in Berkeley has 'em. Ok example.

regards,

trillium

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No guns, Ed, but the oil is reddish. :wink:

I totally believe you. It's just not the classic way.

Chinese cooking is famous for its adaptations. I look for and relish them and catalogue them (in my mind). This sounds like another chapter.

Doesn't this recipe pre-date the introduction of new world foods to the old world? It's like classic/old Thai and Malay recipes where all the spiciness comes from white pepper and green peppercorns.

regards,

trillium

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Help! I have several Asian cookbooks (only a few that focus on just Chinese), and have yet to find a great hot and sour soup recipe. I want a good balance between the hot and the sour, but the recipes I've tried usually taste more sour than hot.

Any suggestions?

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Ya, mamster's.

I have several hot and sour soup recipes I'd call great, but since mamster published this it's the only one I've made. And I make it all the time. It's sort-of blasphemous, but goddamn, it's good:

http://www.egullet.com/?pg=ARTICLE-mamster021003

Two notes: mamster recommended Kong Yen vinegar, which I find significantly better-tasting than Marukan, which I always used before, and which mamster properly disparages. It'll make a difference in the finished soup. Also, make some really good stock. Mamster's article has some tips (I make mine a little differently, mainly in that I use two whole chickens, breast meat removed, and two pounds of wings).

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This might be a silly idea, but have you tried taking your favorite recipe and just decreasing the amount of vinegar and/or increasing the amount of pepper?

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I have several hot and sour soup recipes I'd call great, but since mamster published this it's the only one I've made. And I make it all the time. It's sort-of blasphemous, but goddamn, it's good....

Here's another recipe, from a quasi-governmental source in China. Note that it uses horseradish and chili oil for heat. (Take that, Ed Schoenfeld!) My wife also uses chili oil in suanlatang, (that's the way she learned it in Shanghai) and always uses Chinkiang [Zhenjiang] vinegar.

Sour and Spicy Fish Soup

44967.jpg

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The balance between hot and sour in the soup is really a matter of personal preference. if you have a recipe you like, why not simply increase the heat and decrease the sourness until you reach a balance you like?

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Engerson and Gary Soup: OK, I must check out the recipe you noted.

Hest88 and Browniebaker: Yes, I've tried tinkering with the amount of heat and sourness, but have not been entirely successful. Also, I have to admit a certain impatience with doing so. It reminds me of my experience at P.F. Chang's (an overrated restaurant, IMHO). I order hot and sour soup, and they bring the soup out and tell me to add vinegar and chile oil until I like it. I want the soup brought to my table tasting great, dang it. :laugh: I don't want to have to fiddle with it for two or three minutes. :smile:

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Hest88 and Browniebaker: Yes, I've tried tinkering with the amount of heat and sourness, but have not been entirely successful. Also, I have to admit a certain impatience with doing so. It reminds me of my experience at P.F. Chang's (an overrated restaurant, IMHO). I order hot and sour soup, and they bring the soup out and tell me to add vinegar and chile oil until I like it. I want the soup brought to my table tasting great, dang it.  :laugh: I don't want to have to fiddle with it for two or three minutes.  :smile:

I am sorry to belabor the point, Mrs. Inkling, but it is indeed proper, according to Chinese custom, to serve hot and sour soup with bottles of chili oil and vinegar for individual diners to adjust seasonings to taste. I grew up in a Chinese family, and my mother always served hot and sour soup with chili oil and vinegar at table because each of us had our individual preferences as to spiciness and sourness. My mother liked her soup mouth-searing hot, but the other four in the family were at various other positions on the spectrum of heat. Also, my mother couldn't tolerate much sourness before her eyes screwed shut, but I liked it very sour. At many Chinese restaurants, you see chili oil and soy sauce on the table, in recognition of the fact that people like to add such condiments to taste. And I would be pleased to have a bottle of vinegar as well when served hot and sour soup.

Please try to see chili oil and vinegar being offered at table in the same light as salt and pepper being offered at table in the U.S. The chef seasons the dish as he thinks best, yet a diner is free to add more salt or pepper to his taste (after tasting first, of course!).

Although I am no particular fan of Americanized-Chinese restaurants like P. F. Chang's, I have to hand it to them for serving hot and sour soup right, with chili oil and vinegar on the side.

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Browniebaker: Thanks for the input on your family's way of eating hot and sour soup, and the insight on it being very traditional to allow diners to season according to taste. I do respect and understand that. However, as a work-from-home, harried mother of a 13-month-old daughter (with another child on the way in January), I need an awesome recipe that doesn't require fiddling around with, as it's hard getting time to cook fun stuff these days. :laugh:

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