As the arrival of our daughter gets closer, J and I have started perfecting some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home. We finally got this dish perfect and couldn’t be happier. The original recipe can be found here.
J grew up eating the decadent hot and sour soup at King Doh, authentic Peking and Szechuan cuisine. After several years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe that is really close to the original. To celebrate the Chinese New Year last night, we made a big pot.
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces dried black mushrooms (we had trouble finding these and had the must success using fresh shiitake mushrooms)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chili paste (in a pinch, we combined Thai chili oil, Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce to make a paste)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can water chestnuts (you can buy them already sliced)
1 small can straw mushrooms
18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
three small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame oil
green onion, chopped (to garnish)
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in water according to package directions. Heat oil in wok or large pot. When the oil is hot, add ginger, chile paste and chicken, cook for about two-minute. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms, cook for about a minute. In a bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar and pour into wok. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (don’t rush this. The simmering is what seals in the hot and sour flavors). Add tofu and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water and add to soup and cook until thickened (this will make the soup cloudy and thick, but don’t add too much cornstarch or it will gelatinize . Stir soup in one direction to get current going then add beaten egg, it will look feathery. Stir the soup brining the contents from the bottom to the top> Garnish soup with green onion and serve.
Make sue you leave the soup on low for seconds. The second bowl is always better than the first. The only thing we might add in the future is some shrimp or an onion. The soup is even better the next day!
2 ounces rice vermicelli
package small shrimp; cooked – peeled, deveined
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (or canned if you can’t find fresh)
6 green onions (green parts)
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves; chopped chiffonade style
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro; chopped chiffonade style
2 leaves lettuce; chopped
8.5 inch rice wrappers
Hoison Peanut sauce:
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves; crushed
1 Thai chili; minced, or more for desired spiciness (we just used Sriracha sauce)
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli according to the package directions (or 3 to 5 minutes until al dente) and drain. While waiting for vermicelli to cook, combine the onions mint and cilantro into a bowl. Fill a large bowl with warm water (warm, not boiling and not steaming). Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften (you may have to swish it around a bit). Lay wrapper flat (you may have to pull it apart if it sticks to itself). In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, lettuce and the herb mixture, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce (like a burrito). Repeat with remaining ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce ingredients to taste and top with chopped peanuts if desired.
This recipe makes more than enough for three hungry people to have four very stuffed spring rolls.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have recently noticed, I’ve given in to Pinterest. I’ve loved finding new recipes and making the ones I find work for us. We tried this dish on a whim and were very happy with it. It was amazingly flavorful, the chicken super tender and just a hint of sweet enhanced the entire dish. I’ll only make two small changes when we have this dish again.