Hot and Sour Soup

In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people. –Ruth Harrison

As my final semester of college (or at least as an undergraduate) comes near an end I have been really busy lately.  On top of final exams, assignments, and presentations I am preparing to move several states away.  So I am trying to squeeze in posts when I can!

As I have said before, I love making soups because they provide multiple meals.  Soups are usually better the next day anyway!  So I decided to make this soup on the first 80 degree day of the year, which was probably not good planning.

As a note, the color of my soup is a little different than when you order it at a Chinese restaurant because I added the egg too early because I didn’t follow the recipe (oops!).  So make sure to add the egg once the soup is nice and hot. I also kept adding more chili sauce because I like it spicy! Plus, I used “hot n spicy” pre-seasoned tofu, and restaurants usually use plain tofu. So the orange seasonings dissolved in the soup.

Ingredients

  • dried mushrooms –any combination of padi straw, shitake, cloud ears, lily buds (I did 1/2 oz dried padi and 1 oz dried shitake based on what I could find in my small town)
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2-3 T chili sauce (I did about 5 in mine)
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 6 oz hot ‘n spicy smoked tofu cut into tiny squares
  • 1 beaten egg (vegan without!)
  • 8 oz sliced bamboo shoots
  • 3 oz sliced water chestnuts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 ladles of residual water after soaking the mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  1.  Soak the mushrooms in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the mushrooms are soaking, make the broth.  Mix the vegetable broth, sesame oil, chili sauce, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste, and modify broth to taste.  Heat the broth.
  3. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and mushrooms.  Add 2 ladles of water from the soaked mushrooms for additional flavor.
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Gradually pour beaten egg into simmering soup while constantly stirring. Add green onions.
  5. Optional garnish of additional green onions.

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