Hot Soup on a Cold Winter's Night

Tonight's dinner guests loved tonight's Vegetarian Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup so much that I felt I should share the recipe. Either that, or they asked me for the recipe and I'm always up for repurposing significant typing efforts.

Here is the pork-riddled, complex multi-mushroom-rehydrating, nasty canned bamboo shoots-containing Epicurious recipe I bastardized, and which Epicurious/Gourmet had already "adapted" from Bruce Cost:

And here is what we actually ate:

Simplified Though Scrumptious Vegetarian Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup

Makes four large or six/eight small servings.


* 4 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
* 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Michael, if you are reading this, I now own a three-pound box)
* 2 tablespoons peanut oil
* 4 cups vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon)
* 1 block firm tofu, rinsed and drained, then cut into 2-inch by 1/4-inch-thick strips
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (Aiiigh! You can see the pepper but you saved $10 because you didn't buy white peppercorns!)
* 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens
* 2 tablespoons fresh whole cilantro leaves


  1. Stir together 1/4 cup broth with cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir together vinegars, soy sauce, sugar, and salt in another small bowl.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat sides. Add mushrooms and stir-fry 1 minute.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil, then add tofu. Return to a boil and add vinegar mixture.
  5. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to broth and return to a boil, stirring. (Liquid will thicken.) Reduce heat to moderate and simmer 1 minute.
  6. Beat eggs with a fork and add a few drops of sesame oil. Add eggs to soup in a thin stream, stirring slowly in one direction with a spoon.
  7. Stir in pepper, cilantro, and scallions, then drizzle in remaining sesame oil and divide among 6 to 8 small bowls.
NOM NOM good on a cold January evening. Enjoy!

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