Who needs take out when you can make Chinese food this good at home?
Mr. KitchenOperas and I have been fighting the cold-weather cold/flu that’s been going around, and our first instinct when we get sick is to fix it with Hot & Sour Soup. For the last decade we’ve been schlepping down to Chinatown to our favourite Chinese restaurant (Swatow at 309 Spadina Avenue, Toronto) for their ultimate Hot & Sour. And now, I thought it was finally time to give my own version a try so that we didn’t have to commute just for soup!
Luckily, I have a brand new coookbook, with a vegan recipe for Hot & Sour. For Christmas, I got Pemma & I matching copies of Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s new book: Isa Does It. You may know Isa (pronounced “eeee-sa”) from Post Punk Kitchen and Veganomicon. To date, I have loved all of her recipes that I have tried (like the Garlicky Miso Tahini Dressing or Kasha & Tofu with Mushroom Gravy from Veganomicon), and have been really excited about this book!
Of course, I made some changes from Isa’s version. Instead of reconstituting wood ear mushrooms (aka. black fungus), I used fresh Shiitake mushrooms. And instead of a straight veggie broth, I used mushroom stock (I love the GoBIO! organic mushroom boullion cubes) for super-extra mushroom flavour. I did steal Isa’s tip for cabbage — instead of chopping a fresh cabbage, I used a bag of precut ready-for-coleslaw cabbage — so easy!
This soup is quite versatile. The version below is the base version, but next time I’m going to try adding tofu, leaving out the water chestnuts, and adding collard greens and bok choy.
If you have leftovers, let them cool completely and then store in the fridge, until you’re ready to reheat in a pot on the stove:
Hot & Sour Soup
This soup is adapted from “Shroomy Hot & Sour Soup” in Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Ginger, hot sauce, and vinegar are the secret weapons that make this soup perfect when you’re sick to chase away anything that ails you. You can turn this soup into a fuller meal by adding rice noodles, tofu, or stirfried tempeh. Serves 4-6.
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) toasted sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 5cm (2″) nub of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups (113 g / 4 oz.) fresh Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 6 cups (1.4 L) vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) tamari
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) honey (or maple syrup to be vegan-friendly)
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
- 1 (226 g / 8 oz.) can bamboo shoots, drained
- 1 (226 g / 8 oz.) can baby corn, drained and chopped
- 1 (113 g / 4 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained
- 3 cups (141 g / 5 oz) fresh cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon (8 g) tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) water
In a large pot (that will hold at least 8 cups of water), heat the sesame oil over low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sweat for 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium, and add the Shiitake mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
Pour in the veggie broth, vinegar, tamari, honey or maple syrup, sriracha, bamboo, baby corn, water chestnuts, and cabbage. Turn the heat up to high, and stir everything to combine it well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl (I use a mug or a measuring cup), combine the tapioca starch and the water until the tapioca starch dissolves. Pour the tapioca-water mixture into the simmering soup and stir well. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes more to allow the soup to thicken.
Taste to see if you like the hot/sour/sweet combination, and adjust as necessary, adding more sriracha for more spiciness, more vinegar for more sourness, and more honey or maple syrup for more sweetness.
Serve hot and enjoy!