Hot and sour soup (suanla tang in Chinese) is one of my all-time favorite soups. I think the secret to making a good version is to have a very flavorful broth. With the autumn chill settling into Boston, I like to infuse my broth with warm spices -- star anise, ginger, and cinnamon. Chicken, duck, or beef broth all work well. The pork may be substituted with shredded boiled chicken or thinly sliced beef strips. —student epicure
6-8 as part of a multicourse meal
broth (see headnote)
whole star anise
knob ginger, unpeeled, cut into coins
black wood ear mushrooms
dried bean thread noodles
lean pork, such as loin, thinly sliced in strips
firm tofu, sliced into strips
green or napa cabbage, thinly sliced
chili garlic sauce
ground white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons
corn starch, dissolved in 3 T cold water
scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
In This Recipe
Heat the stock. Place bay leaves, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, both types of peppercorns, star anise and ginger in the stock and simmer gently for an hour. Strain spices and discard them.
Meanwhile, soak mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes until soft. Thinly slice. Reserve soaking liquid and add to broth with mushrooms.
Soak bean thread noodles for 10 minutes in hot water. Cut in half with scissors and drain. Set aside.
Bring stock to a lower simmer and add pork, tofu, and cabbage. Let cook for 10 minutes so cabbage is very tender.
Now season the soup. Add vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and white pepper. Taste and adjust for sour, salty, and spicy.