Friday, December 29, 2017

Easy Hot and Sour Soup

16 oz. package of firm tofu, drained
4-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (can also use vegetable broth)
1/4 c. white vinegar, plus a splash if you use 6 cups of broth
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh ginger root
3 large crimini mushrooms, sliced (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 tsp natural cane sugar
1 tsp. black (or white) pepper, freshly ground (used a lot to make it more "hot")
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c. cold water
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, drained and cut into julienne strips
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup sliced green onion tops (green part only)
1 Tbsp sambal oelek (hot chili sauce), don't use or use less if you don't like spicy food

Remove tofu from package and place on several layers of paper towel, top with more paper towels and place a heavy pan (like an iron skillet) on top. This will squeeze most of the moisture out of the tofu and keep it together when you add it to the soup. Set aside and assemble the soup.

Pour the broth into a large stockpot. Add vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, mushrooms, garlic, sugar, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms begin to get soft.

Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine cornstarch and water and stir until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture, bamboo shoots, and tofu and boil gently for about 1 minute or until the soup begins to thicken. Meanwhile, beat the egg in a small bowl.

Remove soup from heat and swirl the egg in a circle into the soup. DO NOT STIR. Place the soup back on the heat and cook for about a minute until the egg firms up. It should create strands of egg (like egg drop soup), but if you have large chunks, just break it apart with a spoon. Stir in green onion tops and the sambal oelek.
 Serve immediately in small soup bowls and eat with a Chinese ceramic spoon. Can add crunchy chow mein noodles on top if you want. Soup will be very hot, so eat slowly and enjoy the hot and sour flavor. This is a great appetizer soup or it can be served as a light meal.

OPTIONAL: Can add meat (such as pork, chicken, beef) or shrimp to make it heartier, but it tastes good and has plenty of protein with the tofu alone.

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