Carol’s recipe for Hot & Sour Soup is perfect for a cook like me: it’s evocative of a dish I enjoy in restaurants, but it’s simplified so it’s easy to find everything you need to cook it on your regular grocery run. I like the chance to cook with authentic ingredients sometimes, but for me at least a reasonable approximation of an ethnic dish is usually just fine. (Kevin at Closet Cooking researched traditional recipes for his Chinese Hot & Sour Soup, which includes harder-to-find ingredients such as dried lily buds, if you are able to get your hands on specialty groceries.)
I used my homemade chicken stock and generally followed Carol’s recipe, though I used .75 oz. of reconstituted shitake mushrooms in addition to a couple of cups of baby bellas. I also used 2 Tbsp. of ground ginger (from a jar), added straight into the soup for flavor. The scallions aren’t just for garnish, they add a nice bite to the overall flavor so don’t leave them out.
Overall I really enjoyed this soup, and with the egg, tofu, and very generous amount of mushrooms it’s very filling. I don’t think I’ve ever used vinegar in a soup before, so the flavor was very different than what I usually make and I really enjoyed that change. It definitely reminded me of hot & sour soup from a Chinese restaurant, though not as gelatinous and much more mushroom-y (for me, that’s a good thing). Next time I will tone down the mushrooms and add bamboo shoots as well. You can also garnish with additional red pepper flakes for a little more heat — I did, and my gums still feel a little warm from it!