For the rains. For days you discover a crack in your boot only by stepping into a puddle on your way to work. For cold, wet feet all day- Pacific Northwest Trench Foot.
For days of snow or icy wind.
For days of sickness or I-feel-like-I-might-be-getting-sickness, or I-drank-too-much-last-night-sickness. Or days of health. (see also: Spicy Sriracha Soup Noodles with Crispy Ground Beef, Mexican Garlic Soup)
Days of laziness. Days that require you wrap yourself in a duvet burrito, for whatever reason.
I live in a very Chinese suburb of Vancouver. This is great for a several reasons, my favourite being that really excellent Chinese food (and ingredients) are found just about everywhere. Hand pulled noodles of every shape, texture and description. Gai lan, bok choy, sui choy, yu choy. Full aisles devoted to different dried mushrooms, soy sauce varieties and dumplings. And, of course, my local grocery has the most epic deli section ever- dim sum, sushi (which is not Chinese at all, but they still have a lot of it) and hot barbecue items.
The fact that I don’t need to drag my baby daughter to a crowded restaurant to get a super fresh and delicious unagi roll, taro/turnip cakes, shumai or dandan noodles… it’s awesome. Especially on days when said daughter fusses enough that cooking becomes tricky.
Thankfully, even on days when she does fuss, this soup comes together in 10 minutes. TEN. Like, put everything in a pot and pretty much go. It is spectacular, and makes me seem like some kind of superwoman that I can make dinner- with leftovers- while keeping bubs entertained.
I use a variety of mushrooms for this (perhaps fungus is a more appropriate word, but I can’t help but think it’s slightly less glamorous): Shitake, wood ear/cloud ear and, occasionally, enoki mushrooms.
The enoki mushrooms are not traditional for hot and sour soup, given their delicate flavour and texture, but I really love them sooo… in they go. I also list dried lily buds under the ingredients, which is traditional, but if Chinese ingredients are trickier to come by where you are, stick with just dried Shitake and skip the rest.
*If you do use enoki, add them at the very end, since they don’t need to be cooked. Lily buds and wood ears are added in with the rest of the dried mushrooms at the beginning.
|BBQ Pork Hot and Sour Soup|| || |
- 300g firm tofu, thinly sliced
- 50g dried Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, rehydrated, coarsely chopped*
- 30g rice vermicelli, soaked for 5 minutes, drained and then coarsely chopped
- 100g BBQ pork (Char Siu)**
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 whole star anise
- 6 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp corn starch + 1 Tbsp water, mixed together
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp green onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, leaves picked and chopped
- A handful of fresh Enoki mushrooms (optional)***
- Sriracha, to taste (optional)
- Add all of the first set of ingredients to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and mix well. Mix corn starch and water together then add to pot and mix. Heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs and sesame oil together. Pour into the simmering soup, stirring slowly so that small strands form.
- To serve, garnish with green onion, cilantro, Enoki mushrooms (if using) and Sriracha (if you like some kick).
** I buy my Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu) pre-made at my local grocery store or Chinese restaurant but it is also easily made using store-bought Char Siu marinade and pork
*** Not traditional by any means, but I love their delicate flavour and texture.