When I was living in CA in 2012 for the campaign I worked on, the eating options were, to say the least, limited. One of the more palatable options was a Chinese takeout place across the parking lot from our office. After hearing horror stories about the entrees, I stuck with soup... which came in a vat the size of my head for about $6. It wasn't amazing, but add in enough of the house-made chili paste, and you had a winner by comparison. On top of everything else going on, my office mate and I would both get soup and load it up with the hot sauce, resulting in "dueling sniffles" all afternoon long.
Feeling particularly nostalgic tonight and missing my video game buddies, so here you have it:
Hot and Sour Soup
- 2 slices extra firm tofu
- 6 mushrooms, wiped with a dishcloth, stems removed, and chopped
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 2 T. water
- 1 c. vegetable stock
- 1/4-in. piece of ginger, grated
- 2 T. Sriracha or other hot sauce
- 2 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar
- 1 T. white pepper
- 2 scallions, chopped for garnish
- handful of cilantro, torn for garnish
- drizzle of sesame oil
In a large pot, combine the stock, ginger, hot sauce, vinegar and pepper. Start to heat it over low-medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add it to the soup and whisk to combine. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup is heating, put the tofu between two paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Put a cast iron skillet or heavy cans of food on top to weight it down and drain the moisture. Once it is fairly dry, cut the tofu into 1/2-in. cubes. Add the tofu and mushrooms to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with the scallions, cilantro and sesame oil.