Hot & Sour Soup. The Real Thing.

Homemade hot and sour soup is beyond even comparing to the stuff at your corner Chinese restaurant, and so simple to prepare in batches suitable for freezing in individual portions, you'll never go back to take-out again. A couple of ingredients may require a trip to an Asian market but both dried lily buds and wood ear mushrooms will keep forever in the pantry if sealed tightly. Additionally, dried shitake mushrooms make a fine substitute for the wood ears and in a pinch, thinly sliced white button mushrooms will suffice.

Dried lily flowers cost will set you back only $2 per bag and add interesting texture and mild flavor to stir-fries and stews.

Cafe Drake HRV's Hot and Sour Soup cooks up quickly for those emergency meals.

Start by making the soup seasoning. Mix in a small bowl the following, stirring well to incorporate ingredients: 5-6 T. soy sauce or tamari, 3 T. Worcestershire sauce, 2 T. rice OR white OR cider vinegar, 1 T. toasted sesame oil, 1 t. chili paste OR 2-3 dried red chilies torn in pieces, 1 T. cornstarch and 1 t. sugar (optional). Now soak one or two dried wood ear mushrooms per package instructions and slice into thin strips. Soak 1/4 cup dried lily flowers/buds in same manner. Drain and set aside with the wood ear mushrooms. (The process is the same if using dried shitake mushrooms though the soaking times will be different.) In a large saucepan heat about 2 T. vegetable oil over high heat and stir-fry for about 15 seconds 2 T. grated ginger and 3 sliced green onions. Add the mushrooms - whatever type you're using - and stir fry for another minute or two; avoid burning by adjusting heat if needed. Pour in 6 cups chicken OR vegetable stock, bring to a boil and add the lily flowers and about 1 cup of cubed extra-firm tofu. Immediately reduce to a simmer and stir in the soup seasoning made earlier. Cook gently over a low flame for 10 minutes or until soup begins to thicken. A couple of minutes before serving, season generously with coarsely ground black pepper and enjoy piping hot, on its own or with rice.


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