Oriental Home-Cooking: Chinese Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken

Historically, known to remedy cold and flu, Hot and Sour soup finds its roots in Chinese cuisine. The regions of Beijing and Sichuan claim that Hot and Sour soup is their regional dish. However, its popularity does not stop there. Chinese restaurants world over have hot and sour soup on their menu and most meals begin with a hearty portion of this soup. With winter fast approaching, the chilly winds and drop in temperature brings with it all sorts of ailments whether it is catching a cold or running a fever. A warm bowl of hot and sour soup will provide the medicinal relief as well as leave a good taste in your mouth.

Hot and Sour Soup

The spicy flavors of the red chilli and the tangy taste of the rice wine vinegar complement each other in bringing out the true taste of this soup. With chicken, vegetables and chicken stock, it makes a healthy meal, suitable for any time of day. The essence of this soup is in balancing the flavors, making sure it is not too fiery or too sour. These two strong flavors should not overpower each other. They have to be carefully brought together to satiate the palate. For that, I normally use sugar to maintain the equilibrium. I have always had a penchant for this soup and it is a must on my order list whenever I visit a Chinese restaurant. Hence, it is one of my favorite recipes, one that I like cooking in larger quantities to keep warming for a healthy weekday lunch.

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken fillets, chopped
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chilli sauce (tomato based)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, julienned
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Preparation:

  • Pour the chicken stock in a deep saucepan, add the chicken pieces and bring to a boil
  • Simmer for about 10-15 minutes till the chicken is cooked
  • Add the chopped carrots and mushrooms and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Lower the heat and add in the soy sauce, chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt, red chillies and sugar. Mix well and let it cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add the sesame oil and turn off the heat
  • Beat the egg and slowly pour it into the soup while stirring. The beaten egg should be like thin strands in the soup
  • Pour it into a soup bowl and garnish with spring onions
  • Serve while it is hot

Hot and Sour Soup

It has been scientifically proven that soups helps to control your appetite. It makes you feel full for longer than dry food. It is a combination of liquids and solids that does the trick. So if you are on a diet or just simply want to enjoy home cooked Chinese cuisine, then this soup is perfect for you. Bid adieu to the ailments of the harsh winters by feasting on a large bowl of hot and sour soup.

Hot and Sour Soup