Why is it that only chicken soup is for your soul? I mean, this hot and sour soup is ten times better than any chicken soup I’ve had in recent memory. It’s got a great heat and tang to it, and it’s so warm and comforting. Plus, I made it when I was sick [I hate you, New England weather] two weeks ago and it cleared my sinuses like whoa.
Only a picture of the finished product, because I swear, there’s only so many diced/sliced/chopped vegetable pictures I can show you before I start feeling silly. Plus, as it turns out, bamboo shoots don’t photograph that well.
I only discovered my love of hot and sour about five or six years ago, when the husband took me to The Island Hopper when we were first dating and I was in the city visiting him. It was so good – velvety in a way that chicken noodle soup only wishes it was, ten thousand times more flavorful, and again with the sinus clearing. [Sorry, but it's true!]
The soup is also ridiculously easy to make and can easily be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker. The first time I made it was in the slow cooker, but last time was just a quick 45 minutes on the stove top.
Also, this is in no way a traditional hot and sour soup; it, like everything else I make, is a bastardized version of the original. The recipe has most of the traditional components, but isn’t quite the same.
Hot & Sour Soup:
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound of chicken, poached, then shredded
1/2 package of button mushrooms, sliced
1 small can bamboo shoots, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes to reduce bitterness, then cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 – 2 teaspoons chili paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Everything goes into the pot at once and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. I wish I had complicated instructions, but I got nothin’. Now, the first time I made this soup, I used 1 teaspoon chili paste, and I thought it could have used more heat. With 2 teaspoons, the heat was nearly all you got when you first tasted the soup, so maybe start with 1.5 and go from there; for me, the 2 teaspoons was perfect, but the husband thought it was too hot and had to add more vinegar to his to balance it out. The fish sauce really adds a nice depth of flavor, plus it got it closer to the color I’m used to seeing in restaurant hot and sour soup.