• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Fat Guy

TDG: Desperate Measures: Hot and Sour Soup

14 posts in this topic

Mamster's special recipe.

+++

Be sure to check The Daily Gullet home page daily for new articles (most every weekday), hot topics, site announcements, and more.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good. Keep trying, mamster.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mamster, thank you for your excellent detective work to acquire that recipe. I had the soup at lunch that day, too, and agree it was the best. I also appreciate your add'l tips included with the recipe.

In your article, you forgot to mention that on Fridays, the school offers a delicous all you can eat buffet lunch for only $6.50. I was very impressed with the high quality and selections, not to mention the low price.

Nightscotsman has been kindly providing us with the menu's online, Click here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Tom Douglas' book (a gift from in-laws in Seattle) but I've never made this soup. I'll have to give it a go.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember whether I mentioned in the article that the original recipe uses dungeness crab meat, not shrimp. You certainly wouldn't go wrong with the crab, either.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, thanks for the recipe — I came across it yesterday afternoon while racking my brain for supper ideas. I happened to have on hand everything called for (except the bamboo shoots, which I don't particularly like anyways).

It was quick, easy and —most importantly — delicious! It is now part of my weeknight arsenal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  About the recipe in the article, some questions?

 

  For the item

 

  - 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms

 

  these are the 'Chinese black mushrooms'?

 

  As I recall, there are supposed to be two kinds of

  these, one with a smooth tops and the other with

  cracks in the tops something like the cracks in a

  dried mud lake bed.

 

  For

 

  - 3 tablespoons peeled and finely julienned

  ginger

 

  How do I measure that? Measure before or after

  julienned?

 

  If ginger has the density of water and if we want

  the ginger packed solid in the 3 T, then we want 1

  1/2 ounces of weight. Is that what you have in mind

  or much more?

 

  For the

 

  - 1 cup canned slivered bamboo shoots,

  drained and diced

 

  Is the 1 C before we drain or afterwards? Again,

  canned bamboo shoots likely have density about that

  of water, so you want 8 ounces of drained and diced

  bamboo shoots?

 

  For the cutting, do you really want "diced" instead

  of julienned? I believe that julienned is more

  common and will fit better with the julienned

  ginger.

 

  For the

 

  - 4 ounces medium shrimp (51-60s are fine),

  shelled, deveined if necessary, and

  coarsely chopped

 

  what is the weight, after shelling, deveining, and

  chopping, and actually used in the dish?

 

  Shredded pork is more common in Hot Sour Soup. The

  seafood is curious. So, chicken could also work?

 

  Can you give a description of the appearance of this

  soup and the flavors in the style of

 

  Gray Kunz and Peter Kaminsky, 'The Elements of

  Taste', ISBN 0-316-60874-2, Little, Brown and

  Company, Boston, 2001.

 

  Your chicken stock starts by browning the chicken.

  This browning is unusual for chicken stock, either

  French or Chinese. Are you getting a clear stock

  with light pale color or something darker?

 

  Commonly chicken stock in Chinese cooking is rather

  thin, thinner than French chicken stock, and not

  nearly strong enough to gel when cold. Your stock

  seems to be stronger.


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

project--The dried shiitakes are "dried black mushrooms". Either variety would be fine. The ginger is measured after peeling and chopping. This is an approximate measure; adjust as you like. When I julienne the ginger, I cut slices perpendicular to the length of the rhizome, then cut those slices into strips--this gives a cross-grain strip that is less likely to be stringy in the mouth.

As for the bamboo shoots, the original recipe calls for julienne, but in the soup at the restaurant, they were cut into smaller pieces. I liked it that way. I used most of a can of "strip" bamboo shoots, cut perpendicular to the strips into fine dice.

My stock is quite unlike a traditional Chinese chicken stock. I find that this gives me more of a buffer to mess up: it's a more gelatinous, more full-flavored stock that is less versatile, but also a stronger base for a soup that makes it less important to get everything else perfectly in balance. I struggle with soup, which seems more prone to being ruined by a small detail than most other types of dishes.

I've skimmed The Elements of Taste but I don't remember their categories, so I can't comment on that.

I didn't weigh the shrimp after prepping it. Anyone know what the general loss in prep is for shrimp? I'm guessing it doesn't vary much. Thanks for the questions--it'll help me write a clearer recipe next time around.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In traditional Hot & Sour soups the main ingredient that gives it a kick is ground white pepper. Many purists will insist that chile peppers are not used. In my own version I do use chile paste and white pepper because that's just the way I am. :raz:

I'm curious whether the complete omission of white pepper in this recipe was intentional, and if so, why?


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was intentional, Mark, for two reasons. First of all, it wasn't in the original recipe. Second, for whatever reason, I don't like the combination of white or black pepper and dried red pepper (which is what chile garlic sauce is made from, I believe). When I get a hot and sour soup that includes both, I cringe, even though I like both ingredients separately.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  Since we're considering Hot Sour Soup, here is an

  extraction of some of my working notes on that soup.

 

  Sources:

 

  (1) Joyce Chen, 'Joyce Chen Cook Book', J. B.

  Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1962.

 

  (2) Rose Cheng and Michele Morris, 'Chinese

  Cookery', ISBN 0-89586-088-0, Berkley

  Publishing, New York, 1981.

 

  (3) Ken Hom, 'Foolproof Chinese Cooking', ISBN

  0-7894-7145-0, Dorling Kindersley, London,

  2000.

 

  (4) Ken Hom, 'Chinese Cooking', ISBN

  1-55366-270-9, Stewart House Publishing,

  Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, 2001.

 

  (5) Deh-Ta Hsiung, 'Chinese Regional Cooking:

  The Art and Practice of the World's Most

  Diverse Cuisine', ISBN 0-89009-598-1,

  Chartwell Books, New Jersey, 1979.

 

  (6) Deh-Ta Hsiung, 'Chinese Cookery Secrets:

  How to Cook Chinese Restaurant Food at

  Home', Right Way, Surrey, UK, 1993.

 

  (7) Jason Lowe, Deh-Ta Hsiung, and Nina

  Simonds, 'The Food of China', ISBN

  1-55285-227, Whitecap Books, Vancouver,

  2001.

 

  (8) Barbara Tropp, 'The Modern Art of Chinese

  Cooking: Techniques and Recipes', isbn

  0-688-14611-2, William Morrow, New York,

  2001.

 

  (9) Martin Yan, 'Chinese Cooking for Dummies:

  A Reference for the Rest of Us!', ISBN

  0-7245-5247-3, Hungry Minds, New York,

  2000.

 

  Below, organized as a table, I give a summary of the

  recipes for Hot Sour Soup from each of the nine

  books above. In the table, each book has its own

  column. There are separate sections of the table

  for Stock, Meat Marinade, Soup, and Garnish.

 

  Here the goal is to take a first-cut at what seems

  to be standard or interesting to include in a new

  recipe.

 

  Table Legend:

 

  Y Yes

  O Optional

  Blank No

 

  Stock

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

  85 26 58 78 40 281 446 116 Page

  Y Canned

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Chicken

  Y Y Y Y O Pork

  Y Veal

  Y Y Y Duck

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Ginger

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Scallions Green

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Scallions White

  Y Y Garlic

  Y Y Y Wine

  Y Y Y Y Y Salt

  Y Black Pepper

  Y Light Soy Sauce

  O Szechuan Pepper

 

  Y Y Rinse Blood

  Y O Scald

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Skim

  Y Clarify

  Y Y Y Y Y Boil

  Y Y Y Never Boil

 

  Meat Marinade

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

  92 49 34 76 174 68 450 Page

  Y Y Y Light Soy

  Y Y Y Y Y Wine

  Y Y Y Y Salt

  Y Black Pepper

  Y Y Y Sugar

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Corn Starch

  Y Y Y Y Sesame Oil

 

  Soup

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

  92 49 34 76 174 53 68 450 120 Page

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Pork

  Y Beef

  Y Chicken

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Tofu

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Eggs

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Tree Fungus

  Y Y Y Lily Flowers

  Y O Y Y Y Y Y Y Vinegar

  Y Black Vinegar

  Y Y Wine

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Light Soy

  Y Y Y Dark Soy

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y White Pepper

  Y Y Black Pepper

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Salt

  Y O MSG

  Szechuan Pepper

  Y Y Y Y Y Y Black Mushrooms

  Y Button Mushrooms

  Y Scallions

  Y Y Y Y Y Bamboo Shoots

  Y Water Chestnuts

  Y Carrots

  Y Ginger

  Y Szechuan Vegetable

  Y Y Y Sesame Oil

  Y Y Chili Oil

  Y Coriander

  Y Worcestershire Sauce

 

  Garnish

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

  Y Y Y Scallions

  Y Y Sesame Oil

  Y White Pepper

  Y Y Black Pepper

  Vinegar

  Y Coriander


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      I think you’ll see in a moment why I didn’t just post this on the Lunch! topic. It was exceptional. An epic and it has been an epic sorting through the 634 photographs I took in about three hours. If I counted correctly, there are only 111 here.
       
      Like so many things, it came out of the blue. I was kind of aware that there was a Chinese holiday this week, but being self-semi-employed I am often a man of leisure and the holidays make little impact on my life. This one is in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duān wǔ jié) and although it features nothing boat-like, it was festive and there is a dragon link.
       
      It started with this invitation which appeared on my WeChat (Chinese social media) account.
       

       
      Longtan (龙潭 lóng tán) means Dragon’s Pool and is more of a hamlet. It is about an hour’s drive north of Liuzhou city. I’d never heard of it and certainly never been there, but a friend of a friend had decided that a “foreign friend” would add just the right note to the planned event. I’ve seen many pictures of such “Long Table“ lunches and even attended one before – but this one was different and I was delighted to be invited.
       
      So, I was picked up outside my city centre home at 9 am and the adventure began. We arrived at the village at 9:45 to be met by the friend in question. He led me to what appeared to be the head man’s home, outside which was a large courtyard with a few men sitting at a trestle table seemingly finishing a breakfast of hot, meaty rice porridge washed down with beer or rice wine. I was offered a bowl of the porridge, but declined the beer or rice wine in favour of a cup of tea. After downing that and making introductions etc, I was left to wander around on my own watching all the activity.
       
       

       

      Rice Porridge
       
      Here goes. I'm posting these mostly in the order they were taken, in order to give some sense of how the event progressed.
       

       
      These two men were the undisputed kings of this venture, organising everyone, checking every detail, instructing less  experienced volunteers etc. It was obvious these men had been working since the early hours. and their breakfast was a break in their toil. There were piles of still steaming cooked pork belly in containers all over the courtyard.
       

      Some of this had been the meat in the rice porridge, I learned.
       
       

      This young lad had been set to chopping chicken. Not one chicken! Dozens.
       

       

       

       

       

      Entrails, insides and fat were all carefully preserved.
       
      In the meantime, the two masters continued boiling their lumps of pork belly. This they refer to as 五花肉 - literally "five flower" pork", the five flowers being layers of skin, fat and meat.
       

       

       
      Another man was dealing with fish. Carp from the village pond. He scaled and cleaned them with his cleaver. Dozens of them. 
       

       

       

       

       
      And all around, various preparations are being prepared.
       

      Peeling Garlic
       

       

      Gizzards and intestines.
       

      More Pork . You can see the five layers here.
       
      to be continued
       
    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
    • By liuzhou
      An old friend from England contacted me yesterday via Facebook with a couple of questions about Five Spice Powder.

      Thought there me be some interest here, too.

      Is there anything more typically Chinese than five spice powder (五香粉 - wǔ xiāng fěn)?
       
      Well, yes. A lot.
       
      Many years ago, I worked in an office overlooking London’s China town. By around 11 am, the restaurants started getting lunch ready and the smell of FSP blanketed the area for the rest of the day. When I moved to China, I didn’t smell that. Only when I first visited Hong Kong, did I find that smell again.
       
      In fact, FSP is relatively uncommon in most of Chinese cuisine. And if I ever see another internet recipe called “Chinese” whatever, which is actually any random food, but the genius behind it has added FSP, supposedly rendering it Chinese, I’ll scream.

      I get all sorts of smells wafting through the neighbourhood. Some mouth-watering; some horrifying. But I don't recall ever that they were FSP.
       
      But what is it anyway? Which five spices?
       
      Today, I bought four samples in four local supermarkets. I would have would have preferred five, but couldn’t find any more. It's not that popular.
       
      First thing to say: none of them had five spices. All had more. That is normal. Numbers in Chinese can often be vague. Every time you hear a number, silently added the word ‘about’ or ‘approximately’. 100 km means “far”, 10,000 means “many”.
       
      Second, while there are some common factors, ingredients can vary quite a bit. Here are my four.

      1.


       
      Ingredients – 7
       
      Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Orange Peel, Cassia Bark, Sand Ginger, Dried Ginger, Sichuan Peppercorns.
       
      2.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Cassia Bark, Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Coriander, Sichuan Peppercorn, Licorice Root.

      3.
       

       
      Ingredients – 15
       
      Fennel Seeds, Sichuan Peppercorns, Coriander, Tangerine Peel, Star Anise, Chinese Haw, Cassia Bark, Lesser Galangal, Dahurian Angelica, Nutmeg, Dried Ginger, Black Pepper, Amomum Villosum, Cumin Seeds, Cloves.

      4.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Pepper (unspecified – probably black pepper), Sichuan Peppercorns, Star Anise, Fennel Seeds, Nutmeg, Cassia.
       
      So, take your pick. They all taste and smell almost overwhelmingly of the star anise and cassia, although there are subtle differences in taste in the various mixes.
       
      But I don’t expect to find it in many dishes in local restaurants or homes. A quick, unscientific poll of about ten friends today revealed that not one has any at home, nor have they ever used the stuff!
       
       
      I'm not suggesting that FSP shouldn't be used outside of Chinese food. Please just don't call the results Chinese when you sprinkle it on your fish and chips or whatever. They haven't miraculously become Chinese!

      Like my neighbours and friends, I very rarely use it at all.

      In fact, I'd be delighted to hear how it is used in other cultures / cuisines.
    • By liuzhou
      For the last several years Cindy's* job has been to look after me. She takes care of my residence papers, my health insurance, my travel, my housing and associated repairs. She makes sure that I am supplied with sufficient cold beer at official banquets. And she does it all with terrific efficiency and great humour.
       
      This weekend she held her wedding banquet.
       
      Unlike in the west, this isn't held immediately after the marriage is formalised. In fact, she was legally married months ago. But the banquet is the symbolic, public declaration and not the soul-less civil servant stamping of papers that the legal part entails.
      So tonight, along with a few hundred other people, I rolled up to a local hotel at the appointed time. In my pocket was my 'hong bao' or red envelope in which I had deposited a suitable cash gift. That is the Chinese wedding gift protocol. You don't get 12 pop-up toasters here.
       
      I handed it over, then settled down, at a table with colleagues, to a 17 or 18 course dinner.
       
      Before we started, I spotted this red bedecked jar. Shaking, poking and sniffing revealed nothing.
       
       
      A few minutes later, a waitress turned up and opened and emptied the jar into a serving dish. Spicy pickled vegetables. Very vinegary, very hot, and very addictive. Allegedly pickled on the premises, this was just to amuse us as we waited for the real stuff to arrive.
       
       
      Then the serious stuff arrived. When I said 17 courses, I really meant 17 dishes. Chinese cuisine doesn't really do courses. Every thing is served at roughly the same time. But we had:
       
      Quail soup which I neglected to photograph.
       
      Roast duck
       
      Braised turtle
       
      Sticky rice with beef (the beef is lurking underneath)
       
      Steamed chicken
       
      Spicy, crispy shell-on prawns.
       
      Steamed pork belly slices with sliced taro
       
      Spicy squid
       
      Noodles
       
      Chinese Charcuterie (including ducks jaws (left) and duck hearts (right))
       
      Mixed vegetables
       
      Fish
       
      Cakes
       
      Fertility soup! This allegedly increases your fertility and ensures the first born (in China, only born) is a son. Why they are serving to me is anyone's guess. It would make more sense for the happy couple to drink the lot.
       
      Greenery
       
      Jiaozi
       
      There was a final serving of quartered oranges, but I guess you have seen pictures of oranges before.
       
      The happy couple. I wish them well.
       
      *Cindy is the English name she has adopted. Her Chinese name is more than usually difficult to pronounce. Many Chinese friends consider it a real tongue-twister.
    • By liuzhou
      A few days ago, I was given a lovely gift. A big jar of preserved lemons.
       
      I know Moroccan preserved lemons, but had never met Chinese ones. In fact, apart from in the south, in many parts of China it isn't that easy to find lemons, at all.
       
      These are apparently a speciality of the southern Zhuang minority of Wuming County near Nanning. The Zhuang people are the largest ethnic minority in China and most live in Guangxi. These preserved lemons feature in their diet and are usually eaten with congee (rice porridge). Lemon Duck is a local speciality and they are also served with fish. They can be served as a relish, too. They are related to the Vietnamese Chanh muối.
       
      I'm told that these particular lemons have been soaking in salt and lemon juice for eleven years!
       

       

       
      So, of course, you want to know what they taste like. Incredibly lemony. Concentrated lemonness. Sour, but not unpleasantly so. Also a sort of smoky flavour.
       
      The following was provided by my dear friend 马芬洲 (Ma Fen Zhou) who is herself Zhuang. It is posted with her permission.
       
      How to Make Zhuang Preserved Lemons
      By 马芬洲
       
      Zhuang preserved lemons is a kind of common food for the southern Zhuang ethnic minority who live around Nanning Prefecture of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. The Zhuang people like to make it as a relish for eating with congee or congee with corn powder. This relish is a mixture of chopped preserved lemons, red chilli and garlic or ginger slice in soy sauce and peanut oil or sesame oil.
       

       
      Sometimes the Zhuang people use preserved lemons as an ingredient in cooking. The most famous Zhuang food in Guangxi is Lemon Duck, which is a common home cooked dish in Wuming County, which belongs to Nanning Prefecture.
       
      The following steps show you how to make Zhuang preserved lemons.
       
      Step 1 Shopping
      Buy some green lemons.
       
      Step 2 Cleaning
      Wash green lemons.
       
      Step 3 Sunning
      Leave green lemons under the sunshine till it gets dry.
       
      Step 4 Salting
      If you salt 5kg green lemons, mix 0.25kg salt with green lemons. Keep the salted green lemons in a transparent jar. The jar must be well sealed. Leave the jar under the sunshine till the salted green lemons turn yellow. For example, leave it on the balcony. Maybe it will take months to wait for those salted green lemons to turn yellow. Later, get the jar of salted yellow lemons back. Unseal the jar. Then cover 1kg salt over the salted yellow lemons. Seal well the jar again.
       
      Step 5 Preserving
      Keep the sealed jar of salted yellow lemons at least 3 years. And the colour of salted yellow lemons will turn brown day by day. It can be dark brown later. The longer you keep preserved lemons, the better taste it is. If you eat it earlier than 2 years, it will taste bitter. After 3 years, it can be unsealed. Please use clean chopsticks to pick it. Don’t use oily chopsticks, or the oil will make preserved lemons go bad. Remember to seal the jar well after picking preserved lemons every time.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.