Hot and Sour Soup
Alright cold. I am bringing out the big guns now. You might have made outside too miserable to endure and filled me with racking coughs, but I have a secret weapon and I am well over the “mutually assure destruction” horizon. This soup is going to destroy you. It is going to make me forget that you ever existed and fill my belly with cosy feelings.
Hot and Sour Soup is something that sits on the menu of almost every Chinese restaurant, completely unnoticed until you make that call. The one when you are too full of the flu to even cook soup for yourself and when the walk to the front door to take a bag from a delivery man seems like the most gargantuan chore of the day. Then it is Hot and Sour Soup’s time to shine.
Ingredients to make enough soup to cure the common cold (or serve 4):
8 ounces of Shitake Mushrooms
8 cups of chicken stock
An 8 ounce can of bamboo shoots or sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
½ a cup of rice wine vinegar
¼ cup of light soy sauce
½ cup of corn-starch
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
2 teaspoons of Sriracha Hot Sauce
8 ounces of cooked and shredded chicken
3 spring onions
I am loathe to say it, but you can replace the chicken in this recipe with tofu, if you are so inclined. Unlike western soups, this is pretty much a meal in itself, so there is no need for side orders of bread or anything like that. If you are not miserably ill when you eat it, a light Asian beer is always a nice accompaniment to take some of the sting out of the soup.
How To Do It:
1. This is another one of those incredibly simple recipes, so don’t expect too much work to be involved. Start off by dicing up your mushrooms into little bite sized morsels, and tossing out the stems. Next, shred your chicken up and slice your spring onions up and set them aside.
2. Pop a spot of sesame oil in your stockpot and put it on a high heat. Once it is hot, add your mushrooms.
3. Keep them moving around and give them a minute or two to start softening before dumping in all of your other ingredients, except for the spring onions, which will go in last.
4. Bring everything up to the boil while stirring vigorously.
5. Reduce to medium heat and let it bloop away happily for 15 minutes.
6. Just before you dish it out, sprinkle in your spring onions and give them a stir through so that their sharpness gets a chance to infuse everything without overpowering it.
Congratulations, you have just made yourself a dose of the ultimate cure to all human diseases. Have the flu? Hot and Sour Soup. Hayfever? Hot and Sour Soup. Depression? Hot and Sour Soup. Broken bones? Hot and Sour Soup. You can throw it in the fridge and reheat it a couple of days later if you want to, it doesn’t harm the flavor at all but a giant pot takes up a lot of shelf space when you could really just eat the damned soup.