Hot + Sour Soup

Here's one for all you people with a cold.  (Seriously, everyone around me is sniffling.)  What's better than hot, spicy, tangy soup when you're sick?  Missing the traditional lilly buds and wood ear mushrooms of more traditional chinese hot and sour soups, all the ingredients for this one can be found in most well stocked grocery stores.  Szechuan peppercorns are toasted by placing in a hot pan on the stove, tossing occasionally and cooking until fragrant.  Grind with a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder or crush under a heavy pan or rolling pin.  

I recommend cutting and slicing everything small, so it fits on a spoon.  

Serves 4.

Hot + Sour Soup

2 oz prosciutto, julienned

8 oz firm tofu, julienned

4 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

2.5 oz bamboo shoots, julienned

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground szechuan peppercorns 

32 oz chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water, optional

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon hot chile oil

scallion greens, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring prosciutto, tofu, shiitakes, bamboo shoots, pepper and stock to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Whisk in cornstarch slurry, simmer until thickened.  

Remove from heat, stir soup in one direction to create a current and slowly pour in beaten egg.  It will turn into cooked, eggy ribbons.  Add hot chile oil and adjust seasoning with additional soy for salt, chile oil for heat or rice vinegar for sour.  

Garnish with scallions and serve with rice.