The best hot and sour soup I ever had was, weirdly, in Paris. It’s been years since I had loads of time to wander around the side streets so things may be different now, but in the early 80s it was very common to see certain restaurants place a large cutout of Mickey Mouse or Foghorn Leghorn or some similar figure out on the sidewalk with their menu taped on the front. I thought it was pretty odd at the time but I have come to think of it as charmingly French. Anyway, the hot and sour soup was fantastic and blisteringly hot; I have no idea now where the restaurant was other than somewhere on the Left Bank in the Luxembourg arrondissement or nearby. It’s probably long gone.
I usually get won ton soup in Chinese restaurants now because that’s what my husband likes, but if I am on my own, it’s hot and sour all the way. I found a recipe that I adapted a little bit and discovered it’s easy to make at home. I found this at the Grocery Outlet the other day and it’s great in hot and sour. It’s already fairly sour.
But regular chicken or vegetable stock works fine. Homemade broth would rock this soup.
I also used some spicy pork sausage so I didn’t need to use as much Sriracha, but again, this is optional.
HOT AND SOUR SOUP
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 4 chopped green onions (scallions)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or Tom Yum soup base
- 1 pound firm tofu, cut in 1/2″ cubes
- 5 thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce)
- Sriracha to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- rice vinegar to taste
- 2 large eggs, beaten
Then add the ground pork. Break it up with a fork as best you can, and cook & stir about 1 minute. Don’t try to cook the pork thoroughly just yet; it will finish cooking as the broth simmers.
Add the broth, sugar, tofu, mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat quickly, simmer and taste. If you used the Tom Yum soup base, you won’t need to add much rice vinegar. If you used regular broth, add up to 2/3 cup rice vinegar. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and 1/2 to 1 tablespoons Sriracha. Keep tasting as you add until soup is just right for you.
Pour the beaten eggs into the soup and whisk until they form strands.
Garnish with sesame oil, chopped cilantro, and chopped green onions. A squeeze of lime would be nice if you want an extra flavor and tartness.
For a vegetarian or vegan version, use vegetable broth and omit the meat and eggs. Use soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Rehydrate 1 ounce wood ear mushrooms and slice thinly; add with the other mushrooms.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. The soup may look a little different after being chilled but it will reheat and taste fine.