This is one of Matthew’s favorite soups because of the spicy/sour taste of this dish. Hot & sour soup is a variety of soup from several Asian culinary traditions. In all cases, the soup contains ingredients to make it hot, spicy and sour. The base is normally made with beef, pork or chicken stock, or may be meat-free as in the case of my recipe below. Common key ingredients in the American Chinese version include bamboo shoots, toasted sesame oil, wood ear, cloud ear fungus, day lily buds, vinegar, egg, corn starch, and white pepper, but you can also add other ingredients such as button mushrooms and small slices of tofu. It is comparatively thicker than the Chinese cuisine versions due to the addition of cornstarch. Remember, recipes are a starting point to help you make your favorite version of a dish, so you could leave out the cornstarch if you what a thinner version.

Shiitake mushrooms: Translated from Japanese, “shii” refers to the tree on which these mushrooms originally grew, while “také” simply means mushroom. Having no roots, leaves, blossoms, or seeds, shiitake mushrooms fall into a special food category called fungus. Famous for their rich texture and smoky flavor, they’re the second most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world, which are readily available on market shelves around the country. Compared with white button mushrooms, shiitakes are purported to have more than 10 times the flavor, and boost the following nutrients, niacin, copper, vitamin B5, selenium, manganese, zinc, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin D.

Homemade Hot & Sour Shrimp & Shiitake mushroom Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

8 cups low sodium vegetable stock

2 cups shiitake mushrooms, caps thinly-sliced, stems chopped

1x 8oz can bamboo shoots, drained

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced pickled ginger

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

1 cup raw peeled shrimp, diced or ½ cup firm tofu, cut into ¼ inch cubes

3 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with ¼ cup of cold stock

2 eggs, whisked

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Sea salt (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

How to make:

Add 7 ½ cups of stock and the next 7 ingredients to a large saucepan. Place on the stove over a high heat, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

Take a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup of cold stock, then pour into the simmering soup, whisking as you pour.

Once the soup thickens, continue to whisk as you slowly drizzle in the eggs, to create egg ribbons. Add the remaining ingredients, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Add more rice wine vinegar to sour the soup or add more chili sauce to spice things up a little more, enjoy!!!!