Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hot and Sour Soup

 I thought that the after school kids might like some hot and sour soup so I made it for them yesterday.  I don't know where I got this idea but they usually like anything Asian that I make them and I assumed they would like this too.  Well, they sort of liked it.  Some liked it a lot and some picked out the tofu.

 I was shocked to find out that none of them had ever eaten tofu before.  But now that I think about it, if you don't have much money and you rarely get homemade food, why would you ever try tofu?

 I made rice on the side and I guess some of them ate the rice with broth from the soup ladled over it.

 Amazingly, every kid ate some.  I have to hand it to them, they try everything all the time.

 Though this might not have been their favorite meal, they now know what tofu is.

 Here is the recipe for a batch that serves about 4 people.  I made 20 quarts of this.  A lot of the kids took containers home with them.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (sambal olek) 
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
directions
  1. Bring the broth, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, garlic, ginger, vinegars, chili sauce, soy sauce and sugar to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the cornstarch and water mixture and simmer until the soup thickens a bit, about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour in the eggs in a thin stream while stirring the soup.
  4. Mix in the sesame oil, white pepper and green onions, remove from heat and enjoy!
 As with any agra dolce recipe, you need to keep tasting until you get the right balance of sugar and vinegar.
 I finished off a bag of light brown sugar but ended up using mostly dark brown.  I think it works best for this dish.


 I also added grated carrots and sliced napa cabbage because I always sneak extra veggies into their food.

Though this dish might have been pushing the food envelope when it comes to the kids, this soup is very good.