China Sidehot and sour soup

Hot & Sour Soup
(Serves 8)

A Chinese favorite—matchstick sliced pork in a tangy soup broth with rice, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and scallions. Oh, so good!

1 lb. boneless pork
1/2 C uncooked long-grain white rice
8 dried Chinese mushrooms *
6 C chicken broth
1/2 C bamboo shoots (chopped)
2 tsp. ginger root (grated)
2 T cornstarch
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 T vinegar
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 T sesame oil
4 scallions (chopped)—for garnish

In a large pot, bring to boil enough water just to cover the pork, add a little salt and cook pork for 30 minutes. In a separate pot, boil 3 C water and add rice; cook 20 minutes, drain rice and put aside. In the meantime, soak mushrooms in a medium bowl in hot water till softened.

Drain pork (reserving cooking liquid), shred meat into 2"-3" long strips. Drain and chop mushrooms (discard their liquid). Skim fat off pork broth, then add chicken broth to make 12 C of liquid. Bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, pork, cooked rice, bamboo shoots, and ginger. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Combine cornstarch and a little cold water in a small bowl. Add to soup, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, till thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in eggs. Season with vinegar, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir in sesame oil and top with scallions. Serve immediately from a tureen or in individual bowls.

* Buy at an Asian food store. Or use any dried mushrooms that your regular grocery store carries.

| See more Chinese recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Many ingredients used in Chinese cooking probably aren’t in your spice shelf, but you can find them at Asian grocery stores. To avoid frustration, make a list of the items before trying recipes.

Agar Agar: dried seaweed used as a gelatin. Buy it in sticks (or strips) and soak in cold water to soften.

Chili Oil: buy it or make your own. For a recipe, see Hunan Chicken.

Chinese Cabbage: aka “Nappa”;long, white stalks with light green crinkly leaves.

Deep Frying: use a deep-fry thermometer to reach the recipe's correct temperature; if the oil isn't hot enough, the food will be soggy. When cool, the oil can be strained, refrigerated, and re-used.

Dried Shrimp: tiny, salted, sun-dried shrimp that add a pungent flavor to Asian cooking. Soak before using.

Five-Spice Powder: blend of star anise, cinamon, cloves, fennel and Szechuan peppercorns. Like allspice.

Peppersalt: buy or make your own. Heat 2 T Szechuan peppercorns in skillet 5 min. Grind into powder and mix with 2 T salt.

Sauces: Hoisin (sweet, from soybeans); Oyster (like soy, from oysters); Sweet Bean (canned, salty, from soybeans); Hot Bean (hot & salty, from soybeans and peppers).

Sesame Paste: from gound sesame seeds; substitute with peanut butter.

Sweet Rice Powder: from glutinous rice; used in place of flour in many desserts.

Szechuan peppercorns: dried reddish berries, fragrant and mildly hot.


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