Gourmet Recipe for Hot and Sour Chinese Soup
This recipe for hot and sour Chinese soup uses various traditional Chinese cookery ingredients, such as seitan and mirin. Seitan, also called wheat gluten or wheat meat, has a similar texture to meat when cooked. It is not as common as tofu but seitan is gaining popularity in the western world.
Mirin is a type of sake for cooking. It is a seasoned, rice based wine which is lower in alcohol than regular sake. Lily flower buds are often used in Chinese soup recipes and enhance this Chinese hot and sour soup recipe. They are musky sweet and earthy in flavor and are also used in Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese recipes. You will probably have to visit an Asian food store for some of these ingredients if you want your Chinese soup recipe to be authentic. Yes there are more ingredients in this recipe than in some of our other Chinese soup recipes, but it is well worth making.
Simply gather your ingredients and you can get on with making it and then enjoy the incredible flavor it offers. You can use one pot to cook the soup, simply preparing your ingredients as you go and adding them in the right order. This is quite a healthy soup because it is low in fat and high in vegetables. That actually applies to many Chinese soups, especially since dairy ingredients like milk, cheese, butter and cream are rarely used in Chinese cuisine. The ginger, mirin and red pepper offer tantalizing bites of flavor, while the vegetables and broth provide the main basis of the soup. There is nothing not to love about this delicious Chinese soup and if a fresh flavor and a healthy finish are both important to you, choose this recipe. You cannot help but love the finished dish.
- 1 quart water
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- ¼ cup rinsed, defrosted baby peas
- ½ cup red bell pepper slices
- 10 slices fresh ginger
- ½ cup slivered seitan
- 2 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 3 oz cubed tofu
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- ½ cup julienned carrots
- ½ cup julienned Chinese cabbage
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup soaked, drained dried black mushroom slices
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup soaked, drained, sliced dried lily flower buds
- Lime juice, to taste
- ½ sliced red chili pepper (optional)
- Sprigs of fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Prepare all the vegetables, tofu and seitan.
- Cut the black mushrooms and lily flowers immediately after draining so they don't go stringy.
- Simmer the chicken bouillon powder, water and ginger for a minute.
- Remove the ginger.
- Put the peppers, mirin, scallions, peas, bell pepper, mushrooms and lily flower buds in a bowl and mix well.
- Add the carrots, Chinese cabbage and mushrooms to the stock and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add everything else except the scallions, baby peas, lime juice and cilantro.
- Add the red chili at this point if using.
- Simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Add the baby peas, adjust the seasoning.
- Cook 5 minutes or until everything is tender.
- Add lime juice, to taste.
- Serve hot in bowls, garnished with the cilantro.
Hot and sour soup is a classic Chinese dish but there is a different between how they make it in China and how your local takeout makes it. The best way to make it is to use a good quality broth or stock and fresh vegetables, and take care to season it delicately. A little ‘hot’ and a little ‘sour’ will go a long way, to make an aromatic, fragrant and truly wonderful soup. Use your judgment as to how much chili and lime juice to add. Some people like a touch while others are more heavy-handed. It depends on your palate really, so taste as you go.
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