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The Best Tasting Sinus Cleaner: Hot & Sour Soup January 31, 2008

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.
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Oooh…. what’s better for a head cold in the wintertime, eh? The toasted sesame aroma giving way to the vinegar and pepper as what can only be described as tasty Hunan lava flows over your insides while you pick out the mushrooms, noodles and salty pork…

This is sounding like porno! Team me up with Ron Jeremy & we’ll pitch it to Food TV!

Any bets on Ron eating them into bankruptcy?

I’ve tried different recipes for Hot & Sour Soup over the years. Mostly the variations occur in the “heat” source for the pepper flavor. I’ve seen chili paste, hot oil, various cayenne-based hot sauces, and hot bean paste used, all with slightly different results, but I keep coming back to the first recipe I ever tried, which uses white pepper.

And here it is!

First I cut up 4-5 black chinese mushrooms (or soften up some dried shittakes by soaking them and then slicing them up), and add that to 1/2 cup of bamboo shoots, maybe 1/4 pound of pork loin cut into very thin slivers, a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a teaspoon of salt – all of which goes into 4 cups of chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 3 minutes. (Kosher? Vegetarian? Feel free to skip the pork, or substitute some pre-boiled or leftover cold chicken or precooked baby shrimp or even drained canned clams – anything a little salty works here, and you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.)

Add one cup of tofu cut into 1/4″ cubes (medium or firm works best), an ounce or so of bean thread noodles (presoaked in hot water for 5 minutes, and then cut into short pieces), a teaspoon of white pepper, and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Bring it back up to a boil. Now mix in a pre-mixed slurry of 3 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed into 3 tablespoons of water, and this will thicken the soup. Slowly pour in a beaten egg for little egg drops throughout.

You can freeze or refrigerate the soup at this stage, and it’ll keep frozen for weeks. To serve while hot, pour into bowls and garnish with sesame oil & chopped green onion. The ratios above should yield 4-6 servings as a soup course, or in MY case, two big cold-curing dosages of this magic elixir.

Or as Ron Jeremy might say – “This’ll put hair on your back!”

Come to think of it, that might not be the best advertisement for this stuff. But trust me, it’s damn good!

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Comments»

1. Tee D - October 4, 2008

Hot & Sour soup will bust open a head cold or sinuses big time! I am making the recipe shown above this weekend. If you do not like to cook, some grocery stores carry single servings of Hot & Sour soup that you just add water and microwave. They are usually in the international sections of larger stores. There are a few different kinds of these pre-packaged soup and they are pretty good.

2. Jim Berkin - October 4, 2008

Well, I DO love to cook, so I like to make my own & keep it around, especially in the winter. I’ve seen pre-packaged hot & sour soups in the gourmet sections of supermarket delis which doesn’t look too bad, but since I like to finely control the amount of spiciness along with the sharpness of the vinegar, I prefer the recipe above.

One variation I’ve tried is to substitute hot chili paste for the white pepper, and also a mixture of the two. A subtle difference, but it’s often interesting. 🙂

3. John P - March 14, 2012

I love Hot & Sour soup. I was looking for some remedies for cold/flu symptoms online and came across this. Since I’m on High Blood Pressure medicine I’m limited to what over-the-counter medicine I could take. I was thrilled to find this, I now have most of the ingredients and will cook up my first batch this weekend. Thanks for posting!


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