hot and sour soup

January 21, 2014

hot and sour soup

It’s -21 celsius (that’s -6 fahrenheit for our friends south of the border) here in Toronto which made me think that it’s a good day to put on a pot of hot and sour soup to warm the blood. I’m not exactly sure from whence and where hot and sour soup originates but lots of cultures have it – in China this soup is claimed variously by Beijing and Sichuan as a regional dish; Canh chua (literally “sour soup”) is indigenous to the Mekong River region of southern Vietnam; Cambodia has a version called Samlor machu pkong traditionally made with shrimp; Thailand has Tom yum; and India has its own versions typically made with red and green chillies, ginger, carrots, snow peas, tofu, soy sauce, rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Many hot and sour soups you find these days contain meat and some thickening agent like eggs or cornstarch, but the following version requires neither meat nor a thickener as the “hot” and “sour” stand out on their own on the main stage stage, as they should.

2 tbsps sunflower oil

6 green onions, white and green parts, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1 pound firm tofu, cubed

8 – 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly

4 cups shiitake kombu dashi or veggie stock

1 tsp cane sugar

2/3 cup rice vinegar

3 tbsps tamari

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp sriracha*, or other hot sauce

ground pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat the sunflower oil over medium- high heat. Add the green onion, garlic, ginger, tofu, and mushrooms, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until the flavours meld and everything softens up a bit.

Add the dashi or stock, sugar, vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and sriracha and bring the soup to a boil. Turn down to  simmer and let cook for 5 – 10 minutes over low heat. Add pepper to taste. Adjust to your liking with either more vinegar (for more “sour”) or more sriracha (for more “hot”).

Serve immediately with a little garnish of sesame oil, green onion, or pepper if you like.

*Please note that sriracha is now more than just a brand sauce. Other brands make sriracha and have been known to add shrimp paste. Huy Fong, the dominant provider of sriracha, does not have shrimp paste or fish sauce but just check before you buy.

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2 Responses to “hot and sour soup”

  1. wismered Says:

    loved the soup, Ruth!


    • So glad Bob. It’s a keeper. But I only post recipes I love. Check out the warm winter squash salad with chickpeas and tahini, although in Texas you may not need a warm winter salad 🙂


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