Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lily Chang's Hot and Sour Soup


Lily Chang's Hot & Sour Soup

It frustrates me to no end that I couldn't snap a photograph immediately after I made the soup last night. Since I'm still at the mercy of natural lighting and my digital Canon Rebel is still mad at me (not really; the built-in flash just doesn't work), I didn't have sufficient light to do the food justice. Any independently wealthy blogger fan want to help?

This is one of my babies. My creation. Not just a modification of some recipe. I changed, tweaked, tried loads of different things before being pleased with the general presentation of this soup (both taste combination and appearance). I am famous for this soup. Calm down literal police, I don't mean I'm infamous or that countless people associate me with this soup or anything else for that matter. Friends and family really enjoy the fruits when I labor over this.

I'm not going to highlight differences between the recipe here and what I've seen and tasted in restaurants, because I don't have several days to do this. I will say, however, I purposely chose not to thicken the soup with any sort of starch. It looks plenty rich as a soup, but that's just what I think.

Below I include the ingredients and some tips, both in general fashion. In most cases, I will not include measurements, because I, frankly, wasn't paying attention. Ready?

  • tofu
  • bamboo shoots
  • shittaki mushrooms (this time I also used some other kind of mushrooms. Don't know what they're called, but they're not the typical ones people pick up in grocery stores)
  • wood ears (sounds gross, perhaps. these are fungi that grow on trees. if you enjoy mushrooms, don't freak out. mushrooms are fungi that grown in the ground) - it's the long, dark thing you see in the photograph
  • eggs
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • chicken breast - cut into small pieces
  • chicken broth
  • water
  • green onions
  • 1 onion
  • garlic
  • sea salt
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • ground white pepper
  • rice vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • soy sauce
General guidelines/directions:
  • As always, I cooked (by pan frying in olive oil) the onion and chicken separately from everything else.
  • In a huge pot (I used a stock pot), put everything EXCEPT the spices, other seasoning ingredients inside), and eggs. Don't forget the water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, allow it to continue simmering. Drop the onion in when it's done, but set aside the chicken (cooking any meat or seafood for too long really does it injustice).
  • The egg drizzle is a BEAR to master. I used 6 or 7 eggs. I beat them together in a bowl. My suggestions may seem a bit cryptic, especially for those of you who have never tried this. But, the hot & sour soup should have an egg drizzle, much like what you see in egg drop soup. It's easy to get it too clumpy or too tiny. Anyhow make sure there's plenty of soupiness (It think I just made up a word) to the soup and the soup is boiling quite excitedly before starting. With a stirring spatula in one hand and the bowl with the eggs beaten in it in another, pour a bit of the contents into the pot whilst simultaneously stirring with the other in a slow circular fashion. Wait until the soup is boiling excitedly again before repeating the step of pouring whilst stirring. Repeat this until all the raw eggs have joined the soup.
  • Finally the spices and seasoning (salt, soy sauce, vinegar, etc.) go in. Do not mix up the order of this step and the previous one. Otherwise you'll end up with dark, miserable looking eggs.
  • Ooooh, I forgot to mention, I dropped the green parts of the green onions, along with the cooked chicken breast in last, when the soup was ready to serve.
I served this soup over rice. Delicious.

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