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TDG: Desperate Measures: Hot and Sour Soup

14 posts in this topic

Mamster's special recipe.

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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)

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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  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'?

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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

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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

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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

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  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'?

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