Hot and Sour Soup
6 cups veggie broth
1 to 3 serrano chiles (depending on how hot you would like it), seeded and minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons mirin (or rice vinegar if mirin not available)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup each: bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, green onions, or other veggies
1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup white miso (optional)
1) In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a low boil. Add the minced serranos, ginger, and garlic. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then add black pepper. Let simmer while preparing the veggies and tofu. My favorite veggies to use in this recipe are bamboo shoots and bean sprouts, and occasionally onions. Mushrooms would be good, if desired, as would green onions. Choose two veggies and add them to the broth; simmer until softened as desired.
2) Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar and let simmer for another five minutes. In a small dish, mix the corn starch with the mirin or vinegar until thoroughly dissolved. Stirring constantly, pour the dissolved corn starch into the soup, keep stirring and heating on a low boil until thickened slightly.
3) If adding the miso, add at the end and stir until completely dissolved, then add the tofu and simmer until heated through. Depending on how sensitive to heat you are, serve with a box of tissues and enjoy!
Source of recipe: Forget chicken soup, hot and sour soup was the standby in my family when we were sick; the hot broth is soothing on a sore throat and the spice clears out the sinuses. Living in the small town that I do, there isn't a good Chinese restaurant that sells my favorite soup, so I derived this from a magazine article and added my own touches.