This hot and sour recipe has “all of the bright and peppery flavors of the hot-and-sour soup you get at a restaurant with none of the glop.” It comes from Joanne Chang’s new cookbook Flour, too, a collection of the 100 most-requested savory recipes from her four Boston cafés.
“Here are all of the bright and peppery flavors of the hot-and-sour soup you get at a restaurant with none of the glop. Ground pork is not traditional, but it makes the preparation of this soup ultraquick. Wood ear mushrooms, sometimes labeled “tree fungus” (now there’s an appetizing name), are a standard addition, but they can be hard to find unless you live near an Asian grocery store. I substitute easy-to-find button mushrooms, which don’t have the same crunch but add a nice earthy flavor. Egg, not flavorless cornstarch, acts as the thickener, allowing the flavors of pork, sesame, vinegar, and pepper to come shining through. My mom used to whip this up as a fast lunch for my brother and me, and I have taught it to the Flour chefs, so they now offer it as a daily soup special. It always sells out, and Mom is thrilled to be part of the Flour menu.”
Mama Chang’s Hot and Sour
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
- 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus 2 tbsp chopped for garnish
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb. block soft or firm tofu (not silken and not extra-firm), cut into 1/2-in/12-mm cubes
- 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil, plus 2 tsp for garnish
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 2 large eggs
- White pepper for garnish
Special equipment: large saucepan
- In the saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. Break up the pork into smaller pieces but don’t worry about breaking it down completely. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.)
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among four bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white pepper. Serve immediately. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Joanne Chang is the chef-owner of Flour Bakery + Café in Boston. She has a degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard University and was a pastry chef at Rialto, Payard Patisserie and Mistral restaurant. She owns four eateries in Boston where she lives with her husband, Christopher Myers, with whom she owns a modern Asian restaurant Myers + Chang.