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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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 Hot and Sour Sichuan Soup

Thom Hackett
Servings: 8




The tantalizing flavors in this soup make it one of the most famous of Sichuan's (Szechwan's) dishes. It is a soup full of strong, jostling flavors, typifying the culinary uniqueness of this region, which stresses the Five Flavors - hot (chili, peppery hot) sour, salty, sweet, nutty. Originally a peasant soup, satisfying and filling, it is thick with bean curd, as Sichuan (Szechwan) is the home of the best bean curd in China. Today, this soup is regarded as a classic international dish that emerged from this great culinary region of China.



2   tablespoons white vinegar
2   tablespoons light soy sauce
2   tablespoons chopped scallions
1   teaspoon sesame oil
1   teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground to a powder
1   teaspoon chopped fresh chilies, or teaspoon chili sauce
1   tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1   tablespoon cilantro, cut into 1-inch lengths

For Pork:
1   teaspoon light soy sauce
  teaspoon sesame oil
1   teaspoon cornstarch
  pound shoulder pork, thinly sliced
3   tablespoons peanut oil
8   cups water
1   teaspoon sugar
1   teaspoon salt
1   cup bamboo shoots, cut into julienne
1   tablespoon wood ear fungus, soaked for 30 minutes and rinsed
3   tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with a little cold water to make a paste
3   fresh bean curd cakes, cut into -inch julienne
2   eggs, slightly beaten

Cooking Method

Place into a soup tureen the vinegar, soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil, ground peppercorns, chilies, ginger, and cilantro.


  1. Combine the pork marinade ingredients. 

  2. Add the pork slices and coat with the mixture. 

  3. Set aside for 20 minutes. 

Heat the oil in a stockpot. 

  1. Add the pork and stir-fry over medium heat until the pork changes color. 

  2. Remove the pork to a plate.

Add the water, sugar and salt to the stockpot. 

  1. Bring to a boil. 

  2. Add the bamboo shoots, wood ear fungus and the cooked pork. 

  3. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the cornstarch thickening until the soup boils and becomes a velvety consistency. 

  1. Add the bean curd. 

  2. Gently stir in the beaten eggs until the eggs float in soft tendrils. 

Immediately pour over the ingredients in your serving tureen and serve.


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