The Lonely Guy Cooks Chinese
Hot and Sour Soup: The heat comes from white pepper and the sour comes from rice wine vinegar.
Sesame Noodles: The taste comes from sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds and peanut butter. I got the basic idea for this recipe from reading other ones. Once I got the general idea, I developed this - and no doubt nontraditional - recipe.
The soup can be assembled quickly. Do that first.
Hot and Sour Soup
32 oz vegetable or chicken stock
4 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (sometimes labeled "baby bellas")
1 handful of soybean sprouts - fresh if possible or from a can, drained and rinsed
1 handful of finely sliced scallions
6-8 oz firm tofu cut into rectangular strips
1/4 - 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
Chili flakes as desired - start with a good pinch
White pepper as desired - try 2 teaspoons for starters
2 tbsp Soy sauce for color and saltiness
1 large beaten egg
2 tablespoons cornstarch and water made into a slurry at the last moment
Get all the ingredients in a pot except for the egg and the cornstarch. Bring to a simmer.
Slowly drizzle in the beaten egg while stirring the soup.
Once the soup returns to a simmer, slowly drizzle in the cornstarch slurry while stirring well.
Taste. Add soy for more saltiness. Add white pepper for more heat. Add more vinegar if desired.
Note that this recipe can be vegan if the egg is eliminated.
8 oz lo mien noodles, fresh if possible - or spaghetti
1 round tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 pinch of sugar
Hot cooking water as needed to thin the sauce
Roasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions, bean sprouts for garnish
I am amazed at the thickening power of peanut butter. I probably added 5-6 tablespoons of cooking water to get a sauce with a syrup-like consistency.
Slowly warm the peanut butter, sesame oil, ginger, chili sauce, vinegar and sugar. Add water as needed while warming to get a syrup-like consistency. Taste. Adjust the ingredients as desired.
Cook the noodles or pasta according to package directions. Add the noodles to the pan with the sauce. Stir and toss.
Plate and garnish with roasted sesame seeds, scallions and sprouts.
Fresh bean sprouts, shiitakes, lo mien noodles and roasted sesame seeds might not be available in the local supermarket. I have a Korean market near me that also has Chinese, Thai and Japanese products. I will bet that a local gourmet market would have these ingredients as well.
Substitutions? Any mushroom will do. No lo mien? Spaghetti or vermicelli pasta will work. Worst case scenario with the sesame seeds is you buy the raw ones and toast them in a dry pan. No rice wine vinegar? One tablespoon of white vinegar will substitute. No fresh sprouts? There are the La Choy sprouts in a can, but I can't recommend them.
These recipes were a lesson in flavors and balance of flavors. As far as enjoyment, I am a hot and sour soup junkie. Now I can make it at home.
The sesame noodles... well, when I keep shoveling the grub into my pie-hole, I know I have a winner!
- 1/2 head of a large purple cabbage
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium potato peeled (or several new potatoes)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut
- 32 oz water or chicken stock or vegetable stock
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Remove as much of the white core of the cabbage as possible. Shred the cabbage. Cut the potato into chunks. Slice the carrot. Put all ingredients in a big pot. Add the cider vinegar, sauerkraut and stock (or water) and simmer 30-40 minutes. Let cool.
In batches if necessary, add everything into the blender and blend until smooth.
Serve a big hot or cold bowl with a big dollop of fat free Greek yogurt and a hunk of crusty bread.
With the antioxidants and probiotics in this dish, you will feel strong. Strong like Russian bear. Strong like bull? Or was it strong like Polish ox? Anyway, it's delicious!