A man had just put his 89-year-old dad in a nursing home. As the old fella’s birthday approached, the son — feeling he needed to do something special — called the local brothel. The Madam explained that she had three packages: Good, Better and Super Sex. Given that it was dad’s 90th, the son ordered the super sex.
On the father’s birthday, the brothel’s best call girl burst through the door of the old man’s room wearing nothing but a sexy negligee, saying: “I’m here to give you Super Sex!”
The old man thought for a second, then said: “I’ll have the soup.”
In the world of tame jokes, that one is a little bit spicy. Just like the hot-and-sour soup I made today, which managed to use a few dried shiitake mushrooms. They’re not 90 years old, but they’ve got to be getting close.
Unlike some of the other mystery ingredients dug out of the cupboards, I know exactly why I bought these mushrooms: it was to make this soup from Anne Lindsay’s 1994 Light Kitchen cookbook.
I got hooked on the hot-and-sour soup from Lin’s Chop Suey when I lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the late ’90s. This recipe gets darn close to what I remember — a spicy, clear soup that gets the nose running. And it is so easy to make. I’ve modified the original recipe, mainly to add more vegetables, but it’s a recipe that holds up quite well to adaptations.
Oddly, the mushrooms are probably our least favourite part of the soup but I put a few in each time, just to keep it real.
Kitchen Castoff Used
Dried shiitake mushrooms
This is how we did it
- 6 cups of chicken broth
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 pound pork, cut into matchstick strips (I used one pork chop)
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1/4 red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup julienned bamboo strips
- 1 1/3 cup diced firm tofu (I’ve made this an optional ingredient)
- 3 – 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp chili paste or 1 – 2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
Soak the dried mushrooms in hot or warm water for about 15 minutes. The remove the stem and slice the cap into thin strips.
In a large saucepan, mix the stock and ginger and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms, pork, carrot and red pepper, let come back to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and tofu, if using.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, tamari, sesame oil and chili paste or sauce. Then add the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add to the soup, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.
When serving, top each bowl with some green onions.
Curious what my “Kitchen Castoffs”? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project
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