Hot and Sour Soup
Billyboy- I'd love to have that recipe that you mention. Also, please explain why it is that you and the next poster think that szechuan peppercorns may be the reason my cheeks go numb rather than the msg. Thanks so much!
I'll start with an Asian chicken broth that I make using a fresh whole chicken or many chicken wings. Add to that garlic cloves and ginger root, and a couple of scallions or white onion. Remove that when straining and cleaning the broth. So its pretty clear, but flavorful. I think the outcome using a homemade broth surpasses canned.
Hot and Sour Soup
6 medum dried shitake mushrooms
3 dried clouds ears
1/2 lb lean bonelss pork cut into matchsticks
1 T dry sherry
6 Cups of homemade broth
1/2 lb chicken breast skinned, boned, and cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 cup bamboo shoots - fresh better cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 lb firm tofu drained, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 T white vinegar
2 T Soy Sauce- I like darker/Pearl River
1T toasted sesame seed oil
2 or 3 T of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 Cup water make a slurry to thicken soup
3/4 to 1 tsp of ground white pepper
1 egg beaten maybe 2 eggs ( i like eggs
3 green scallion including the tops, cut diagonally 1 inch pieces
Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. (Once softened cut the stem off at the base of the cap,slice into think strips) Soak the clourds ears, cut off any hard pieces, and cut them into pieces-bite size
Marinate the pork with the sherry at least 20 minutes
Pour the broth into your 2 qt pot,bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, pork, chicken, bamboo shoots. Stir a few times. The cover with a lid, reduce the heat simmer for 5 mins
Add the tofu, vinegar first 2T taste, then add more if you like add the soy sauce
heat it uncovered for about a minute
Make the cornstarch slurry in a small bowl stirring it together well - no lumps!
Pour into the pot, stir until the soup is thickened. Adj if you need more
Remove the pot from the heat stir in pepper and toasted sesame seed oil
In a small bowl mix the eggs with chopsticks
After well mixing pour gradually into the pot, in a thin stream creating gentle ribbons stir the pot slowly in one direction. You are not wanting scrambled eggs in the soup.
Sprinkle with scallions and season with salt or more soy sauce.
I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what else to do to the stock. I'm thinking, maybe do whatever it is you do to give a French onion soup some flavor, like brown the onions and maybe puree? Maybe some kind of a roux, though I'm sure that is not a very Chinese solution. It also crossed my mind that some kind of a mild but flavorsome chili would help with the depth of flavor issue. I make a Mexican meatball soup with some mild dried chilis and that works well.
By the way, I have cooked with lilybuds before and they are very mild in flavor and I am sure are not the source of the "numb cheek effect", I think that you can just dry the buds of day lilys to if you want to cook with them. I have seen them on the list of non-poisonous plants, and frequently garnish salads with open day lilys. By the way, what the heck is this ma-la effect several of you have mentioned?
re: Kathy Thompson
ma la is the Chinese word or expression for the numbing effect that Szechaun peppercorn has. The theory is that it numbs your mouth and tongue so you can eat more hot chilies without discomfort. Not sure if that's true or not.
I have a great interest in Chinese food but cannot cook very much of it because I cannot get the ingredients.. :-(
Something I have had for a week or so that I am going to try is a package of pre-mixed Szechuan Hot $ Sour Soup (Suan La Tang) as it says on the pkg. It is made by Asian Home Gourmet.
It is not a soup in a pkg thing. You have to make the soup yourself with chicken broth, chicken vegetables, etc. and use the pkg as the spice ingredient.
Will try on the weekend and let you know. I hope is is good because in my hick town, I am lucky to be able to get soy sauce...:-)
I was wrong about the Szechuan peppercorns in the hot and sour soup. None of my recipes has them. They all do have tiger lily buds which I cannot get. That may give the tingling.numbing sensation.
Anyway, all the recipes I have are almost identical to this one which will not infringe on any copyrights.
Here is a nice photo of a dish with tiger lily buds:
I was going to say I think of them as the lily pads in the pond of hot and sour soup, but I mixed them up with tree ears (a.k.a. wood ears):
What I'd love to know is how to make h&s the way I like it in restaurants. I don't know what happened to yesterday's post about this (I was waiting to see where it would go as this soup is near and dear to my heart), but I would love to know how to make a nice, deep brown-colored broth...as someone mentioned yesterday, so many recipes I've seen and tried have chicken stock as a base.
I agree. Was just looking again last night at the Hot and Sour Soup in "Land of Plenty" and noticed that in includes only a teaspoon of dark soy, but 3 to 4 tablespoons of black vinegar.
Dunlop also say that the heat in the dish comes not from chiles, but from the rather unusual amount of white pepper that's added to it. Might freshly ground white pepper, in quantities greater than we're used to seeing, have a ma-la effect?