Move over chicken noodle, the new cure for winter colds has arrived! Many people believe that hot and sour soup is far better for curing what ails you (including sore throats, body aches, and the common cold) than our old standby chicken noodle. Now I’m not quite ready to give up my chicken noodle soup just yet, but I will certainly be adding this soup to my rotation of “chilly weather meals”. This is a warm, delicious hot and sour soup, just like you would get from your favorite Chinese restaurant, only with far fewer calories, and far less fat.
Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup
- 1 large stockpot
- 1 small bowl
- 8 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup green cabbage or bok choy, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh shiitake, cloud ear, or other mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup green onions (scallions), chopped
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
- ½ lb cubed firm reduced fat tofu, or diced shrimp, or cooked shredded chicken
- 1 cup white wine vinegar (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten (or an egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Bring the broth to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl until fully dissolved, and set aside.
- Once the broth is boiling, add the cabbage, mushrooms, 1/2 of the green onions, soy sauce, and ginger. When the broth mixture returns to a boil after adding the vegetables, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Let the mixture boil for about 3 minutes.
- Add the tofu (or shrimp or cooked chicken), vinegar, and pepper. Taste and add more pepper or vinegar if desired.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and slowly drizzle the egg (or egg substitute) into the simmering soup, stirring gently. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and sprinkle with remaining green onions to serve.
To help you achieve culinary excellence, here are some valuable cooking tips and insights for preparing the perfect Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll elevate the flavors and ensure a delightful dining experience.
- Achieving the Perfect Balance: To strike the ideal balance of tanginess and spiciness, start by adding the vinegar and soy sauce gradually. Taste the soup as you go and adjust the quantities according to your preference. Remember, it’s easier to add more seasoning than to dilute the flavors if it becomes too strong.
- Optimal Ingredient Preparation: Ensure your ingredients are sliced thinly and uniformly for even cooking. Thin slices of tofu, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and vegetables will not only cook faster but also blend seamlessly into the soup. Take your time to prep the ingredients properly, and it will pay off in the final result.
- Proper Simmering Technique: Simmer the soup gently to allow the flavors to develop. Avoid boiling it vigorously, as this might result in overcooking the delicate ingredients and compromising their texture. A slow and steady simmer will give you a well-balanced and flavorful soup.
- Enhance Umami with Mushrooms: For an extra depth of flavor and umami, consider using dried shiitake mushrooms. Soak them in warm water until softened, then thinly slice and add them to the soup. The mushrooms will infuse the broth with a rich and earthy taste.
- Use Fresh Ingredients: To truly savor the flavors of this soup, opt for fresh and high-quality ingredients. Freshly squeezed lime juice, vibrant cilantro, and crisp vegetables will enhance the overall taste. Remember, the quality of your ingredients can make a significant difference in the final result.
Now that you’ve mastered the art of preparing Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup, let’s explore some delightful serving suggestions. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or enjoying a cozy meal at home, these suggestions will help you create a memorable dining experience.
- Perfect Occasions and Audience: Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup is a versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer or a light main course. It is particularly well-suited for gatherings with friends and family, as it sparks conversation with its bold flavors. It’s a great choice for those seeking a healthy and satisfying option without compromising on taste.
- Complementary Sides and Garnishes: To complement the tangy and spicy flavors of the soup, consider serving it with steamed jasmine rice or cooked quinoa on the side. Add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and sliced green onions as garnishes to enhance the visual appeal and freshness. You can also offer crispy vegetable spring rolls or a side salad for a well-rounded meal.
- Creative Serving Ideas: While serving the soup in bowls is traditional, you can also get creative with presentation. Serve it in small individual teacups or shot glasses as an elegant appetizer at a cocktail party. Alternatively, pour the soup into hollowed-out bread bowls for a rustic and hearty twist. The options are endless, so let your creativity shine!
- Pairing with Beverages: To balance the zesty flavors of the soup, refresh your palate with a cool and crisp beverage. Sip on a chilled glass of white wine, such as a dry Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc, which will complement the tangy notes. If you prefer non-alcoholic options, try a refreshing iced green tea or a sparkling water infused with lemon or lime.
- Leftovers and Storage: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The soup will keep well for up to 3 days. When reheating, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat to preserve the flavors and avoid overcooking the ingredients. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to adjust the consistency.
FAQs about Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup
Let’s address some common queries that might arise while preparing Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup. Here are answers to frequently asked questions to guide you through any uncertainties.
Can I make this soup vegetarian or vegan?
Absolutely! For a vegan version, omit the eggs and replace the fish sauce with soy sauce or tamari. You can also add protein alternatives such as tofu or tempeh for a satisfying plant-based option.
How can I adjust the spiciness level?
The level of spiciness can be adjusted according to your preference. If you prefer a milder soup, reduce the amount of white pepper or chili flakes. Conversely, if you’re a spice lover, increase the quantities or add a dash of hot sauce to intensify the heat.
Can I freeze the soup?
While it is possible to freeze the soup, it is best enjoyed fresh. The texture and flavors may slightly change upon freezing andthawing. However, if you have leftovers that you’d like to freeze, ensure they are stored in airtight containers or freezer bags. Leave some headspace for expansion, and consume the frozen soup within 2 to 3 months for the best quality.
Can I substitute ingredients based on dietary restrictions?
Certainly! This recipe is flexible and can be adapted to accommodate dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Feel free to substitute ingredients as needed. For example, if you’re gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce and ensure your broth is gluten-free. Customize the recipe to suit your needs while keeping the essence of the hot and sour flavors intact.
Is it possible to make Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup ahead of time?
While the soup is best enjoyed immediately after preparation, you can make certain preparations ahead of time. Slice the vegetables, soak the mushrooms, and prepare the broth in advance. When you’re ready to serve, simply assemble and cook the soup. This way, you can save time without compromising on the freshness of the final dish.
Delight your taste buds with the tangy and spicy goodness of Low Calorie Hot and Sour Soup. Uncover expert cooking tips, creative serving suggestions, and get answers to common questions. Join our culinary community by sharing this recipe with your friends and family and subscribing to our blog for future culinary adventures!