So, taking a break from the Christmas menu…the weather is just depressing lately. We complain when there’s too much sun, we complain when there’s too much rain. My peeve with the rain is that my plants are dying from the lack of sun. Anyhoo, rain means…soup time! And an Asian soup no less. I was rummaging through my old hoard of recipe books and came across this copy (below). It’s like easily 15 years old and surprise, surprise…it belonged to my husband. He bought it during his uni days in the UK in an attempt to make more home-cooked food, although judging by his stories…I’m only aware of the ‘sup batu‘ (‘rock’ soup…think the stone soup story) he made. There’s a funny story behind it…he was boiling onions to make somewhat of a ABC soup but it simmered for far too long that the onions completely disintegrated. Although the soup was delicious, it was void of any chunky ingredients, therefore his housemates called it ‘sup batu‘.
This is a handy book when I want to be reminded on how to make all those traditional, popular Chinese dishes like sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken, crispy seaweed, plenty of dishes with fu-yung at the end of the name (although I’m not sure whether this is really traditional Chinese or lost in Western translation). But…seeing I’ve been making a lot of Western dishes lately, I’d thought I’d go back to good old Chinese cooking. I always seem to veer away from it because I dread making multiple dishes to go with plain rice for one meal, not to mention soup is a must-have for every plain rice meal. Ugh!
But this soup…I like. I actually like Asian sour soups. I’m addicted to the ‘ham choi‘ (salted vege) soup my mother makes although I’m lazy to go through the extensive prep of the vege myself. One of my favourite childhood soups is also the Szechuan vege and pork soup…if I have that as a meal, I don’t need anything else…except maybe a bowl of plain rice. 🙂
CHINESE HOT, SOUR AND SPICY SOUP
Lean pork, sliced thinly
Dried Shitake mushrooms, about 5 medium ones, soaked till soft in hot water
6 cups stock (chicken or vege)
Semi-firm tofu, small cubes
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons of black vinegar
2 teaspoons of Shaoxing rice wine
Light dashes of cili padi powder (this is super hot, watch the quantity, this is also optional and you can use ordinary chilli powder/flakes)
1 egg, beaten
1. Heat the stock on the pot. Squeeze out water from mushrooms and cut off the hard stem. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
2. Drop the mushrooms and pork into the pot with the stock. Flavour it with the vinegar, light soy sauce, rice wine, pepper and dashes of the chilli powder but be aware of the taste before you add more.
3. Add tofu and some of the scallions first. Swirl your soup slowly and pour in beaten egg little by little. This is to make the egg-drop soup effect.
4. Taste the soup and adjust any seasoning where necessary. Finally, make a slurry of cornstarch and water. Pour into the soup and stir. Pour until you have your desired thickness.
5. Garnish with scallions and more dashes of chilli if you wish. Eat while it’s still hot.