Hot and Sour soup

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CoastFan
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2005/08/07 12:27:38 (permalink)

Hot and Sour soup

One of my favorite soups is hot and sour. To my wife and me, if a Chinese restaurant doesn't have a good H&S soup, we don't continue to go there. We don't want it overly "authentic' (made with fish stock and no sweetness at all) so in that sense, a slightly westerized version (with a bit of seetness and a chicken base) are what we seek. Some of my favorites are:

Stix in Laguna Niguel, CA. (We used to live here.) This is almost like a chinese gumbo, with a plethora of large shrimp. There now are a bunch of "Pick Up Stix" carry out places in SoCal and NV at least, but I don't know how their soup compares. But at the original Stix, the H&S is the best.

Mandarin Gourmet - Costa Mesa, CA - This ranks a close second to Stix in the OC area, in our opinions.

Mandarin Cove - Portland, OR - This is on a par with that served at Mandarin Gourmet in Costa Mesa, CA.

A place in the Portland area which has gone down hill, in our view, is Canyon Pearl in Beaverton. This place used to have great H&S, as well as outstanding other dishes. But, there must have been a chef change.

Shanghai Garden - Issaquah, WA (near Seattle). We currently live here and were so happy to "find" this place several years ago. The H&S may rank second to that served at Stix, in our view.

What are the favorites of others?
#1

19 Replies Related Threads

    the grillman
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/08/07 14:08:48 (permalink)
    I love hot and sour soup. I agree that if the soup is good, that's a reason to return to the restaurant.

    Fish stock? I thought it was always made with chicken stock.

    I like it hot, but not unbearably so. A bit of a burn is fine, but don't flame out my tastebuds for the rest of the meal. I do like it probably a little more tart that others, though.

    One thing that torques me out is if the vegatables and meat haven't been cut into bite size pieces. Sometimes you can get the shreds of meat, carrot, bamboo shoot, etc, so big that they fall off the spoon, or just plain are sloppy. This isn't a stirfry with extra sauce, it's a soup...
    #2
    CoastFan
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/08/07 18:31:47 (permalink)
    Quote:

    "Fish stock? I thought it was always made with chicken stock."

    Most places seem to use chicken stock. However, I've been in a few Chinese places (in CA) which catered to a first or second generation ethnic clientel (English was in short supply) that used a fish stock.

    Which is the more authentic, I dunno, but I sure want to stick with a chicken stock.
    #3
    Scorereader
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/08/25 14:00:36 (permalink)
    I'm not one for the burning HOT Hot and Sour soup.
    I like it when the two balance.
    In my most recent experiences (which was quite a while ago with this soup), the HOT seemed to over power the Sour, so I stopped ordering it and have been tentative to try it again to say the least.
    Don't get me wrong, I do like HOT foods, but the soups I had, ended up tainting the rest of my meal.

    I am wrong to think that like Ying and Yang, the Hot and Sour soup should be balanced?
    Shouldn't there be an equal amount of tartness to the HOT?
    #4
    lleechef
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/08/25 23:14:38 (permalink)
    I like it very hot and very sour so I make my own. It's a very easy soup to make, once you're done with all the slicing and dicing because it cooks in about 20 minutes and is more delicious than ordering it in a restaurant!
    #5
    txtwister
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/08/26 14:18:26 (permalink)
    If we asked nicely, would you share your recipe? My local Chinese place serves a very good hot & sour, but to cut corners they use no meat, and while at first I was so happy that the flavor was mostly right I could ignore that, it's started to bug me. (I'm just cranky that way - plus lately their Szechuan Beef is mostly the ubiquitous blend of "Chinese Vegetables" which, IMO and according to the Chinese I grew up with on the East coast, is just wrong. Particularly when they started tossing squash and zucchini in the mix. Now, squash and zucchini in stuff that "I" throw together is one thing, but c'mon! I prefer meat and carrots, period, so I do make that myself.)

    #6
    Sandy Eggo
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/10 23:22:41 (permalink)
    Authentic has shark and the substitue is chicken. I'll tell you what, I like hot and sour just about anywhere. It's a good soup.
    #7
    V960
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/14 17:10:53 (permalink)
    I hate to "say" this but Knorr makes an instant H&S that is better than 3/4 of the Chinese places I visit. Add your own woodear 'shrooms and it's really good.

    Aldo notice the next time you visit a Chinese place that their black pepper is a much finer grind than "standard"...almost a dust. Kicks in faster but goes stale quicker.
    #8
    Fieldthistle
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/15 06:09:26 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    I love the soup, but the best local chinese place puts chunks of tofu in it, which makes it look unappealing.
    Take care,
    Fieldthistle
    #9
    plb
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/15 13:33:49 (permalink)
    Two places I have never found good Hot & Sour soup: China and Taiwan. Now that I think about it, I rarely see any Chinese ordering Hot & Sour soup. That being said, it is still a favorite of this foreign devil.
    #10
    V960
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/18 15:35:09 (permalink)
    A wonderful soup , much abused.
    #11
    lleechef
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/18 20:30:09 (permalink)
    So sorry txtwister.........didn't mean to ignore your request for the recipe. Been overwhelmed with catering lately. Now, mind you, chefs don't measure anything. The recipe is going to be vague....but here we go.

    3/4 lb. pork loin....FINELY julienned
    1/2 C fresh bamboo shoot, julienned
    1/2 C fresh water chestnuts, peeled and julienned
    1 C black fungus, reconstituted in chicken stock, cooled and chopped
    1 C shiitakes, julienned
    1 C straw mushrooms, halved
    chicken stock
    Kitchen Bouquet
    Samball Olek
    White vinegar
    corn starch mixed into cold water

    In a wok, stir fry the pork in hot oil. Add all the other ingredients and stir fry. Add enough chicken stock to just cover. Bring to a boil. Add the Kitchen Bouquet to get a dark color to the stock. Lightly thicken with cornstarch. Add enough Sambal (for the hot) and vinegar (for the sour) to your liking. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
    #12
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/18 20:53:33 (permalink)
    Lisa is not only our resident chef, she is our soup expert. I can guarantee that if we have a soup question, LLeechef with have the answer.

    My only question is how do you julienne everything? That is not exactly easy particularly with pork and other soft goods.


    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #13
    lleechef
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/19 12:06:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Lisa is not only our resident chef, she is our soup expert. I can guarantee that if we have a soup question, LLeechef with have the answer.

    My only question is how do you julienne everything? That is not exactly easy particularly with pork and other soft goods.


    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    Paul,

    To more easily julienne the pork, put it in the freezer until it's firm but NOT frozen. The water chestnuts and bamboo are easy to julienne, as are the mushrooms.
    I use one of two knives, both are made by Wusthof Trident: the Santoku which is an Asian style knife, with a flat blade, or I use my old "work horse knife" which is a standard 12" French knife. I keep them both sharp as a razor so julienning is no problem!
    #14
    V960
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/20 07:32:30 (permalink)
    Hate to put a new question into the deal but is the Sankato (sp) that much different from a Chinese cleaver? Been looking at one since it has an interesting shape and it seems most of the Food Network chefs are using one...Rachel Ray even has her own model at Sur La Table.
    #15
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/20 18:15:04 (permalink)
    My recipe is similar although I add tiger lilies, minced Szechuan vegetables, julienned bean curd and two beaten eggs (after taking off the heat). A few shakes of sesame oil while at the table finishes one of world's great soups.
    #16
    mr chips
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/20 21:31:34 (permalink)
    All of these recipes are making me very hungry.
    #17
    lleechef
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/09/21 02:49:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    Hate to put a new question into the deal but is the Sankato (sp) that much different from a Chinese cleaver? Been looking at one since it has an interesting shape and it seems most of the Food Network chefs are using one...Rachel Ray even has her own model at Sur La Table.

    My Santoku is essentially a Chinese cleaver, only smaller. The blade is 7" long. The popular Chinese cleaver today is ceramic which never needs to be sharpened. It is very light and very sharp, but I prefer my Wusthof Trident Santoku! Best knife I ever cooked with!
    #18
    healeri
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/10/24 18:05:17 (permalink)
    I try Hot & Sour soup every chance I get and the best I've ever had is at Hang Tai restaurant in Franklin, MA
    #19
    txtwister
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    RE: Hot and Sour soup 2005/10/26 15:55:50 (permalink)
    Oh, thank you! Now I've ignored you and I'm sorry, that wasn't my intent either, I've been busy as well trying to get back to eBaying. (Ugh - but it pays the bills - or at least eBay's bills. LOL)

    I will have to track down the sambal olek and try this at home, as the aforementioned restaurant has changed hands, and is truly terrible now.

    I'm tempted to play with the Knorr base, as well, thanks for that tip.

    #20
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