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I love Hot and Sour Soup.  The big issue is that it is often served with egg and, well, eggs and I are not a good fit.  I’ve not been able to find a good alternative.  Thankfully a friend gave me a recipe.  A few tweaks and I have a really decent soup that satisfies that Hot and Sour Soup craving.

You can choose to add cornstarch to give your soup that thickness that often accompanies restaurant versions.  I found I liked it better without it.

What I love about this soup is that it doesn’t require a lot of attention.  There’s a lot of start and leave it be moments that don’t require careful watch of the clock.  It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon soup.

Because the tofu and green onions are not cooked in the soup, each person can choose how much of both they have in their bowl.  And you can choose from serving to serving.  I find that my first bowl, I like a lot of tofu but I like significantly less for my second.

Feel free to play around with the mushrooms.  For fresh mushrooms, you will need about 8 oz according to the original recipe.

Hot and Sour Soup

8 oz ground pork
.5 oz dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 TB beef bouillon (I use Better than Bouillon which is less salty)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 TB rice vinegar
green onions

OPT: 2-4 TB cornstarch

Add dried mushrooms to a small saucepan with 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat.  Let sit for 30 minutes (more is okay).
Once mushrooms are soft and pliable, drain water into measuring cup.  Set mushrooms aside to cool.  Add water to measuring cup to equal as close to 6 cups as your largest measuring cup allows (mine is 4 cups).
Brown meat in large saucepan.  Once fully browned, add mushroom stock and water (making sure to add a full 6 cups of water).  Add beef bouillon.  Let come close to boil, reduce to simmer.
Slice mushrooms (discarding stems) and add to soup.  I use scissors to make cutting easier.  Add soy sauce and let simmer for 30 -60 minutes.
Add cayenne pepper and rice vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Opt: mix cornstarch into 1/2 – 1 cup cold water.  Once completely combined, pour into soup.  Using clean spoon, stir until thickened.  (Cornstarch breaks down when exposed to saliva so always use a clean spoon to taste or to stir/serve.)
Cube tofu into bite sized pieces and chop the green tops of the green onions.  Add the desired amount to bowl, pour over soup.  Serve hot.