I'm a South-East Asian cuisine fanatic, but I've been flirting with Chinese hot and sour soup for 2 years now. My efforts... stink. It tastes like nothing, and yet all recipes I've found seem to list the same ingredients. Please help me- how do you make rich, hearty, flavorful hot and sour soup?
**Here are some of my questions** :
- chile paste isn't hot, chile flakes don't do much either. We love spicy foods and end up adding hot sauce to the finished soup. How do you make it hot?
- I know that heat is all-important in Chinese cuisine. I put my stock pot on the double-boiler to make it as hot as possible... is this necessary?
- I've tried rice wine vinegar, a 50/50 split of rice wine vinegar with red wine vinegar, but still no taste.
- we like seafood or seafood wontons, rather than pork. Any ideas on proteins?
- my husband abhors mushrooms... does that impact the flavor of the soup?
**MY HOT & SOUR SOUP RECIPE
5 cups chicken broth
1 ½ tsp chile paste (or just add your favorite bottled hot sauce at the end)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup cornstarch stirred into ¼ cup water
Tofu sliced thin and long, shrimps (peeled and deveined) or scallops
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp double dark soy sauce
Green onions to garnish
Bring water to a boil and add chile paste, if using. Add tofu, pour in red wine vinegar and mix well. Add the meat or seafood, then stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Stir constantly at a low boil for 5 minutes to thicken the broth. While stirring, add beaten eggs and let swirl for about one minute. Turn off heat and add sesame oil and soy sauce, stirring well. Garnish with green onions.