Author Notes: Restaurants and recipes for hot & sour soup invariably use cornstarch as a thickener, but it doesn't have to be that way. Yes, cornstarch plumps up the broth, but in doing so puts a hazy, viscous layer between us and the sour, spicy sting we crave. Chang's version is thickened with egg instead and makes a number of other smart updates without compromising what we love about the classic. From Flour, Too (Chronicle Books, 2013). —Genius Recipes
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 4 cups store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 pound soft or firm tofu (not silken and not extra firm), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced (or substitute dried, rehydrated wood ear mushrooms)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
- 2 large eggs
- White or black pepper for garnish
- In the saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. You want to break up the pork into smaller pieces with a spoon, but don’t worry about breaking it down completely or cooking it through.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The soup may take on a slightly different appearance, but it will taste just the same.)
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