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Restaurant consulting, hot and sour soup!

January 24, 2010

I hope this finds you with the lingering aftertaste of a great meal!
I am currently doing a consulting job for a restaurant in San Francisco. I really enjoy it. I get to do my own version of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. I am very comfortable assessing a restaurant from the front door to the back door and love helping people do well! This restaurant has a great team of dedicated people making it happen.
One of my assignments this time was to come up with some new soups. I did five of them but my favorite is the Chinese “hot and sour soup”. I have always loved this soup but have never made it. When they told me they would like a version of it on their menu I thought it would be a great challenge. I love to bring the taste of a country or a familiar dish but without having to replicate the authentic version. In this case it would not be wise for them to add bamboo shoots, dried lilies and fungus mushrooms to their inventory list. As it turns out they won’t have to but they will still experience the soup as if they had. One sip of this soup and your mouth puckers with the familiar bright acidity that rice wine vinegar delivers. The vinegar then does a hand-off to the hot chile sauce that takes the pucker away and lights up your mouth just enough to get you excited about the next bite. There is a depth of flavor from the umami quality of the soy sauce without having an obvious soy sauce flavor. The ginger, the garlic and the green onions come together to create a nice back drop of flavor to the hot and sour quality. The texture is that unmistakable pleasurable viscosity? A great hot/sour soup has that thickness from the cornstarch without being heavy and the beautiful strands of tender egg add another layer of texture. Give it a try! Have a tasty day and take care.
 Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy
Hot and sour soup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 cups white mushrooms sliced thin
4 each green onions sliced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2  teaspoons Sriracha chile sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce, low-salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 each egg
1 quart chicken stock
4 ounces tofu med firm
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Mix the cornstarch and cool water together in a small bowl and set aside for later.

In a pot over medium heat add the sesame oil.
Once hot add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for three minutes until soft. They will not have much color on them.

Add the green onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook for two minutes.

Add the rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt and Sriracha. Cook for two minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. While whisking the soup slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry. Whisk until combined and soup starts to thicken. Turn heat off.

Beat the egg for a moment. WHILE stirring the soup in a continuous circular motion slowly pour the egg into the pot. Continue to stir for thirty seconds. You will see the egg cook into long, thin strands and the soup will take on a creamy look although it will still be a broth consistency.

Chop the tofu into 1/2″ cubes and add to soup.

Garnish with 1 tsp fresh chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes
Soup will be viscous from the egg and cornstarch but not thick.
Do not color the mushrooms, ginger, garlic and onion.
Add the egg and tofu at the end when the heat is off.

The soup should have a pronounced sour/hot back and forth flavor.

Serves: 4. Preparation Time is 00 minutes.  Inactive Preparation Time is 00 minutes.  Cooking Time is 00 minutes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 10:39 am

    Okay, this has nothing to do with your post, but were you at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa yesterday (Sunday, Jan 24th)? I’m pretty sure it was you. If not, you have a twin.

    That is all!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      January 28, 2010 11:58 am

      Yes I was. You should have said hello 🙂 Take care. Eat well, be well. See you shopping next time! Jeffrey 🙂

  2. Chase Lane permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:24 am

    Hi Jeffrey,
    This recipe is timely as well as workable to the average kitchen. My wife is Vietnamese, yet we don’t keep bamboo and things around. She is very Americanized. This recipe worked for us on two levels. Its simplicity is great, as well as flavor, but it is also adaptable. I don’t like biting into ginger, but I love the flavor, so we toned it down with ginger powder. That said, should we have some things like water chestnuts, we can add to it as well. Shame on me, but I like canned water chestnuts.
    It’s been cold in Saint Louis, and I am somewhat disabled, so having something as simple as soup, but complex as Hot & Sour, is a life-enjoyer, if not savior. This got added to my MS One-Note program under recipes, as did several of your others.
    Congrats on the job! Nice to know there is intelligent life outside the Food Network.
    Oh, and though I am sure to get at least one hard copy, when you get your book, please see if you can get it into e-book form. In Kindle, it will read aloud, but even if not Kindle, the other e-readers make it easy to handle. I have all of them.
    Thanks for your answers, and blessings to you and your family.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      January 28, 2010 11:56 am

      tHank you Chase! I appreciate your support. I love my kindle too! Eat well, be well, take care,
      Jeffrey 🙂

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