Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dorothy Huang: Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup)


I was never a huge fan of the gloopy hot and sour soup you generally get from the Chinese take out places.  (And the neon yellow egg drop soup isn't any better.)  But when I lived in Austin during college, I had the chance to take a Chinese cooking class, and the dishes were so authentic, that I found I actually liked hot and sour soup.  Now, you need to visit a good Chinese grocery to get some of these ingredients, but trust me, it's worth it.

Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup)
Adapted from Dorothy Huang

3 dried Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, sliced into strips
4 cups water
1½ teaspoons bonito flavored soup stock granules
½ can shredded bamboo shoots, rinsed well
3 tablespoons Szechuan mustard greens, rinsed well to remove salt (optional)
1 tablespoon cloud ear black fungus, soaked until soft and rinsed well
20 dried lily buds, soaked, stem removed, and tied into knots
½ pound fresh tofu (firm), cut into small cubes
1 egg, slightly beaten

Sauce:
2½ tablespoons tapioca starch
1½ tablespoons water
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Heat water until boiling. Add soup stock granules and stir well. Let boil for several minutes. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, mustard greens, black fungus, and lily buds. Let boil for two more minutes. Mix sauce ingredients into a paste, starting with tapioca starch and water. Add to boiling soup. Add tofu and egg, stirring quickly so egg dissipates into threads. Add additional soy sauce if needed. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

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