Hot and sour soup is a variety of soups from several Asian culinary traditions. In all cases, the soup contains ingredients to make it both spicy and sour. The egg ribbons, tofu and shitake mushrooms, make this soup a deliciously warming veggie one.
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 fresh red chillies
freshly ground white pepper
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
250 g shitake mushrooms , cleaned
225 g bamboo shoots , drained
groundnut oil , or vegetable oil
low-salt soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey
1.5 litres hot organic vegetable stock
150 g firm tofu
2 spring onions
½ bunch of chives
1 large free-range egg
Peel the garlic and deseed the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar. Bash with a pinch of salt to a rough paste. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, then bash until broken down and combined.
Finely slice the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Heat a lug of oil in a large wok or heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for 4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli paste and bamboo shoots and fry for a further minute.
Meanwhile, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy, 4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, the honey and a good pinch of white pepper. Stir the mixture into the pan and cook for a minute, then pour in the hot stock and bring gently to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Meanwhile, chop the tofu into 1cm cubes, finely slice the spring onions and chives and whisk the egg well.
Once reduced, remove the soup from the heat. Using a chopstick, stir the soup in a clockwise direction until you get a little whirlpool, then slowly add the beaten egg, stirring continuously to form thin ribbons. Stir in the tofu and return to the heat for 1 minute to warm through. Season to taste with soy and vinegar, then serve immediately with the spring onions and chives scattered on top