Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Season of Soup Part 1: Szechuan

Chinese food.  Yum.

Growing up, at least a few times a month, we had a big Chinese dinner. 

I usually loved everything…except the shiitake mushrooms. But I’m over that phase now. 

My parents always cooked out of the same cookbook for Chinese night.  Now I have a copy of that same book and have been exploring some of the recipes we never made when I was little. 

One of my all time favorite soups is this one...chicken and corn soup.  

Most recently…Schezuan Soup.  It’s a good thing I am over disliking shiitake mushrooms, because this soup wouldn’t be half as good without them and the flavor they bring. 

 I basically followed the recipe exactly, substituting fresh bamboo shoots for water chestnut.  

It was delicious.

Szechuan Soup

1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
boiling water
6 oz. uncooked julienned pork
4 oz. cooked julienned ham
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
8 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
8 oz. firm tofu, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. Chinese chili sauce
2 1/2 T. cornstarch
5 T. water
2 t. vinegar
1 t. sesame oil
1 egg
8 oz. uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

1) Place mushrooms in bowl, cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 min. Drain. Remove and discard stems. Cut caps into thin slices.

2) Combine chicken stock, wine, soy sauce and chili sauce in 5-quart pot.  Cook over medium heat until boils.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 min.

3) Blend cornstarch and 4 T. of the water.  Slowly stir into soup. Cook until boiling.  Add mushrooms, pork, ham, red pepper and water chestnuts. Simmer uncovered 5 min. 

4) Stir vinegar and oil into soup. Beat egg and remaining 1 T. water together with fork.  Gradually drizzle egg into soup while stirring vigorously.  Add onions, tofu and shrimp.  Cook until shrimp is done, about 1-2 min.

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