Easy Hot and Sour Soup



Don't let the amount of ingredients fool you- this is easy to make. The recipe is a slightly modified version of a Cook's Illustrated recipe, this hot and sour soup can be made even if you don't have access to an Asian grocer. I've served it at many events, to those who love Chinese food and those who don't, and it's always popular. I've put in where you can use specific Asian ingredients if you can get them (marked by an asterisk)


10 dried shiitake mushrooms, or other mushrooms of your choice
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry (*substitute Shaoxing wine if you can get)
2 tablespoon Asian sesame oil (make sure it's the dark/toasted looking kind)
1/3 coup cool water
1 boneless center-cut portk chop (about 4 oz)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (*substitute black vinegar if you can get)
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, cut into julienne strips
1/2 pound firm tofu, drained and cut into thin strips
1 large egg beaten
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 coup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon white pepper (if you can't find just use more black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 small tin of sliced water chestnuts (optional)


1If using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak in the hot water until softened (takes about 15 mins). Slice the mushrooms into 1/8 inch strips, put mushroom soaking water into the pot. If you don't use dried shittake mushrooms, add about a coup of water to the soup to compensate for this mushroom infused water.
2In a separate bowl, mix together: all the sherry, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch.
3Slice the pork against the grain into thin strips, place in the bowl with the sherry and other ingredients, mix together and set aside.
4Blend together remaining 1/3 cup cornstarch with cool water in a small bowl, set aside, but keep a spoon in the bowl (you'll probably need to re-stir at some point)
5Combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce with vinegar, worcestershire, and white/black pepper in another bowl, and set that aside.
6Add stock to soup kettle with the mushroom infused water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to simmer and add muishrooms and bamboo shoots, also water chestnuts if you're adding them. Bring to simmer and cook around 5 minutes.
7Stir in the tofu and pork- carefully so as not to break the tofu, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
8Recombine the cornstarch mixture and stir into soup until it thickens, about 1 minute
9stir in vinegar mixture, turn off heat.
10slowly drizzle beaten egg into the soup, using a swirling motion and trying to keep the egg strands thin. When the egg is completely poured in, gently stir but only for a few seconds. At this point the soup is done.
11Serve garnished with thinly chopped scallions, that are mixed with the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
12Serve immediately as possible, but the soup does alright if left on a very low heat. If you bring back to a boil it will thin out so avoid.