… Eventually the long Chinese new year celebration is finished. I bet everyone in China is taking a break from all the cooking, eating, visiting, shopping… And the ashes from fireworks are being cleaned up — I always find it bit sad when I see this, just like I don’t really like gatherings, because I don’t like to see when it’s finishing, families and friends are leaving. In Chinese, there is a saying ‘all the feasts will have to come to an end’. :(( However, the good thing is that we still have a year to look forward, and the spring is coming…
Anyway, we still need to talk about eating. :) Probably after a long feast, we should go for something simple. :) This recipe is hot and sour soup — with clear soup base. I guess that you are not unfamiliar with the hot and sour soup served in Chinese take-aways and restaurants (outside China). Most of them are Cantonese style. For some time, I really liked it, but eventually I got really bad homesick and I started making hot and sour soup northeast style. :)
Compared to Cantonese style, northern style hot and sour soup is much simpler and plainer. Actually, I bet if I tell my Cantonese friends what northern style hot and sour soup, they might be very surprised just like when one of the friends saw me making stir fried eggs with green pepper. Ha…
Northeast style hot and sour soup is also called ‘Suan La Tang’, which is exactly same name as Cantonese. It is a very very common dish cooked at home or served in small family run restaurants. If you order in a restaurant, it is always a good company to, for example, Baozi (Chinese steamed bread with filling) or dumplings, or anything other flour based food.
The spiciness and sourness is probably more sharp than the ones in Cantonese style. Because it is only made with chili, vinegar for the hot and sour taste. The ingredients are always eggs, tomato and cucumber — yes, cucumber. I know it sounds strange, because in many cultures, cucumber is only served in salad. Stir-frying it in the dish is already strange, don’t even mention cooking it the soup. But it is not really ‘boiled’ so much in the soup, rather keep fresh taste for the soup.
Here is how to make it.
Eggs, tomato, cucumber, cooking wine, oil, dried chili pepper, rice vinegar, salt, sesame oil (optional), MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional)
Preparation: (for two bowls of soup)
1) Chop 1 good size tomato into slices. (Or two small ones.)
2) Chop 1/3 of a whole cucumber into slices. (It is really depending on how big the cucumber is.)
3) Whisk 2 eggs in a mix bowl.
1) In a heated wok, pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil.
2) When the oil is almost hot, add in a teaspoon of dried crushed chili (well, it depends on how ‘hot’ you prefer).
3) Allow the chili well influences the oil, then take the chili out for the oil, if you like to, but it is a ‘must’.
4) Add in 1 tablespoon of cooking wine. (Be careful of the hot spill.)
5) Add in around 2 bowls of water. Allow it boil.
6) Add in sliced tomato, then cucumber.
7) When the tomato gets a bit ‘softer’, add in whisked eggs. While pouring the egg, keep on stirring, don’t let the egg form up a big piece, rather evenly spread in the soup.
8) Quickly add in 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoon of rice vinegar (again, alter the amount of vinegar if you prefer more or less sourness), 1/2 teaspoon of MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional).
|Boiling the soup|
8) As soon as it is boiling again, turn off the fire. Add in a few drops of sesame oil if you like. —-
|Chinese hot and sour soup|
It is simple and quick, no? It cannot be cooked longer anyway, because too long could make the egg more firmer rather than soft, and Cucumber is not supposed to be soaked in the ‘soup’, as soon as cucumber slices show tendency to get soft, it is done.
- Cooking wine
- Dried chili pepper
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil (optional)
- MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional)
- Chop a good size tomato into slices.
- Chop ⅓ of a whole cucumber into slices.
- Whisk 2 eggs in a mix bowl.
- In a heated wok, pour in 3 tablespoons of oil.
- When the oil is almost hot, add in a teaspoon of dried crushed chili
- Wait a bit and take the chili out for the oil
- Add in a tablespoon of cooking wine.
- Add two rice bowls of water and allow it boil.
- Add sliced tomato, then the cucumber.
- When the tomato gets soft add in whisked eggs. (While pouring the egg, keep on stirring)
- Quickly add in 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoon of rice vinegar (again, alter the amount of vinegar if you prefer more or less sourness), ½ teaspoon of MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional).
- As soon as it is boiling again, turn off the fire. Add in a few drops of sesame oil.