Hot and Sour Soup – for whatever ails you
This hot and sour soup is a recipe I have been making for ages. It is my favorite thing to make for people who feel crummy. And I don’t mean just sick, but also down in the dumps or just blah. It warms your belly, gets circulation going and tastes so good! This is what I call true comfort food that can heal in so many ways. And then there’s the part where making soup for someone can be uplifting for the giver and the receiver.
But when you look at what’s in this soup it’s no wonder it does so much good…..most of the ingredients are geared towards healing and boosting the immune system. I have included chicken and chicken broth in this recipe but the chicken can be easily omitted and the broth replaced with vegetable broth. It will still have all kinds of healing benefits without the chicken. I think a big part of a soup like this is the synnergy of all the ingredients working together, but most of them are pretty awesome all on their own. Here is a little about the ingredients and their amazing benefits.
Shiitake Mushrooms – Shiitakes are extremely beneficial. They are high in B vitamins, and are a great food source of vitamin D. They can also improve energy levels and brain function, reduce inflammation, and ultimately support the immune system.
Garlic – When garlic is crushed it releases the compound allicin. This has been shown to boost thedisease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu. Garlic is also anti-inflammatory and a great immune booster.
Onions – The phytochemicals in onions along with their vitamin C help improve immunity. Onions have been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and heal infection.
Cayenne – Improves circulation, can relieve body aches and headaches, and increases metabolism.
Vineger – Improves digestion, increases immunity and has antiseptic properties.
Chicken – Research in the American Journal of Therapeutics showed that a compound found in chicken soup – carnosine – helped the body’s immune system to fight the early stages of flu.
Also find out about what’s good about your cooked carrots in my previous post.
My suggestion for when you make this hot and sour soup is to get everything ready ahead of time. That includes mixing the cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar mixture, and whisking the eggs. It just makes it easier to put it all together.
Recipe: Hot and Sour Soup
Makes about 8 servings
- vegetable stock, chicken stock or bone broth
- 1 large chicken breast (optional)
- 2-3 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, cut lengthwise into slices
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1-1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt (if your stock is not salted)
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 6 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 eggs
- 3 large scallions cut in slices
- If not using chicken you can skip this step. In a soup pot bring 3 cups chicken stock to a boil. Add chicken breast; poach until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board; slice in half crosswise, then into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Pass stock through a cheesecloth lined sieve set over a medium bowl; set aside
- In soup pot heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cover. Saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add stock, carrots, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and salt; bring liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Place the cornstarch in a small bowl, and slowly whisk in the soy sauce until the cornstarch has dissolved. Whisk in the vinegar. slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the soup. Simmer until the soup is clear, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved chicken, if using, and continue simmering until the chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Slowly pour the beaten eggs through a perforated spoon into the soup. Cover pot and let stand 3 minutes. Remove the cover and gently stir, breaking up large pieces of egg. To serve ladle into bowls and top with scallions.