Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snow Day Warm-Up

A cold Artic wind has been sending us chilly, below freezing temperatures.
After many false alarms issued by the "professionals", we finally received snow.

Ever since I cleared my pantry finding 6 different types of vinegar - distilled white vinegar (1 gallon - got to love Costco), apple cider vinegar, two bottles of red wine vinegar, two bottles of rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and Chinese black vinegar, I've been craving Hot and Sour Soup.

The cold weather just motivated me to use some of that vinegar. Also, the hot, spicy, flavorful soup would be the ticket to warm me up.

The Fixings:

Starting top center and working clockwise -
Tofu - about 4 ounces
Nappa Cabbage - 1 leaf
Carrots - 3 inch piece
Green Onions - 1
Dried Mushrooms (2 Shiitake) - rehydrated in water for 30 minutes
Dried Lily Flowers (1/4 cup) - rehydrated in water for 30 minutes
Cloud Ears or Wood Ears (3 or 5 pieces) - rehydrated in water for 30 minutes

Not shown:
1/2 cup cooked shredded Chicken Breast
4 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Chinese Black Vinegar - this vinegar is slightly sweet and not as tart as regular vinegar. If distilled, red wine or apple cider vinegar is used, 2 Tablespoons would be a good starting place.
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper (I actually used 1 teaspoon and it was a bit spicy)
1/2 teaspoon Chili Paste
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Seed Oil

Bring the stock to boil.
Add the mushroom, cloud ears and lily flower. Simmer about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the veggies and chicken. Simmer an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
Finally, season with the liquid ingredients and white pepper.

Restaurants tend to thicken the soup with corn starch and use beaten eggs. I chose to skip both items. Also, bamboo shoots are used. I didn't have any.

The final results: A steaming hot bowl of soup.

Hot and Sour Soup

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