Recipe: Hot and Sour Soup

This is a lighter, vegan take on the Hot and Sour soup you get at Chinese restaurants. It’s a bit spicy, a bit tart from a shot of rice vinegar at the end, and AMAZING for anything that ails you. I tend to make this for friends when they have colds; it’s also nice for a quick dinner on a winter’s night.

The veggies you put in this soup are entirely up to you; the only thing that’s important is the woodear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, garlic and carrots. Aside from that, I’ve used zucchini, broccoli, snow peas, and many other veggies.

For about four people, start with:

  • 1–2 big cloves of garlic
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 1 small can of bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 block of firm tofu, cut into smallish chunks or 1/4-inch thick slices
  • any other veggies you want in there

Sauté these in a wok with vegetable oil until the garlic starts to pop, then add:

  • 1 quart veggie stock (I make my own, but Kitchen Basics also works)
  • Rooster Sauce (Vietnamese chili-garlic paste, which has chunks in it, or Sriracha, which is smooth) to taste
  • 1 handful of woodear mushrooms (you can get these at any Asian market)

Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until mushrooms are rehydrated and carrots are soft. Before serving, add

  • 1-2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (to taste).

Serve on its own, or with rice.