Hot and Sour Soup

1 inch ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can bamboo stalks, sliced
6 dried black fungus, soaked and sliced
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 block tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
2 quarts Chinese chicken stock (recipe below)
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of sugar
Scallions, garnish
Cilantro, garnish
Chinese Chicken Stock:
1 chicken carcass
2 inches fresh ginger, sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, halved
6 scallions
1 medium onion, quartered
20 black peppercorns
5-6 dried red chiles
3 quarts water

As with any soup, what takes this soup from just okay to excellent is the stock.

Even if you don’t make your own stock, take the time to simmer your store-bought stock with the ingredients for the chicken stock above. That will infuse some much needed flavor and really help out.

For me though, I just tossed a chicken carcass that I had in the freezer in a large, heavy pot with the other stock ingredients.

Simmer for about 3 hours and you’ll have a really fantastic stock. The ginger, scallions, and chiles give this stock a really unique flavor.

Once the stock has cooled a bit, strain out the solids and use the stock for the soup later.

For the dried mushrooms and fungus, soak them in boiling water for about 20 minutes. That will reconstitute them and then you can just slice them into strips.

Start by heating the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Then add in the garlic, grated ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Let this cook until it’s nice and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Next, add in the sliced bamboo and sliced mushrooms, then add Soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

Once the rice vinegar and soy sauce are added, you can also add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer.
Mix the cornstarch with some water to make a slurry and then slowly stir that slurry into the soup.
Once the slurry is added, you can also stir in your cubed tofu. The tofu doesn’t really need to cook, but it is nice to let it simmer for a few minutes so some of the flavors get infused.

The soup will be really good at this point. It won’t need any salt most likely, but will probably benefit from a pinch of pepper and sugar. The small pinch of sugar will balance out some of the sour flavors.

As a final step, just beat an egg and then drizzle it into the soup pot. The egg will cook immediately and add these nice strands of egg.

Once the egg is added, the soup is ready to serve!

I like to serve it with lots of chopped cilantro and scallions.

As I said though, the most important part is making sure you start with a flavorful stock. You can use store-bought, but simmer it with the stock ingredients to infuse flavor.