January 4, 2011

Hot and Sour Tofu Soup

We're ladle-deep in soup season here in the Northeast, and since we've had our share of heavy, creamy foods over the holidays, I thought it would be nice to make a light, healthy soup that was still warming and satisfying.
Craving the heat-inducing properties of ginger and hot sauce, I decided to make a tofu hot and sour soup, peppered with Franks RedHot sauce, and served with a side of scallion pancakes.
Non-vegetarians could certainly substitute chicken or pork for the tofu without a problem.

This was a super super easy soup to make, especially that I made it in a slow cooker.  The ingredients were minimal too, and quite fresh tasting.
I'll walk you through the recipe process below, but I also made a video sharing the steps for making the soup.  It's a little rough, and I made some mistakes, but it is difficult making a cooking video in just one take!  Plus the whole dilemma of holding a camera while cooking...but I digress.

Here's what you'll need to make this fabulous vegetarian soup:

Ingredients
1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed into 1" squares (or diced cooked chicken or pork)
3 green onions/scallions, sliced (or one small onion, finely diced)
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 head of Napa cabbage, shredded or sliced
handful of dried shitake mushrooms (or 10 oz. fresh mushrooms of any variety)
1 32oz. box of vegetable stock
4 cups water (or more veggie stock)
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1-2 tbsp (or more or less to taste) Frank's Original RedHot sauce 
I like to first prepare all of the veggies and tofu, by chopping, slicing, dicing, etc.  Here are the green onions
 then the shredded carrot
and I soak the dried shitakes (broken into bite-sized pieces) in a bit of water, then use the mushroom water in the soup, reserving any grainy bits for the trash.
I also grate the ginger on a microplane grater, which makes it nice and smooth.  I hate when ginger fibers get into my food. 
Alternatively, you could mince it very finely.  A great tip is to keep ginger in the freezer, then shred it, which makes it really easy (and allows the ginger to last longer).
Next, dice the tofu into 1" pieces, starting by cutting it in half
 
 then into cubes.
 
I thinly sliced half the head of Napa cabbage.  You could also grate it on a grater if you'd like it to have a finer texture.
Once all the ingredients are prepped, I put the stock and water into the slow cooker (or soup pot or dutch oven), and turn it onto high for about an hour.  Then I add the seasonings, the tablespoon each of sesame oil and Frank's RedHot sauce (the "hot" part), the 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1/3 cup of rice vinegar (the "sour" part).  Let the soup cook until the cabbage is wilted and the tofu is hot, and serve.
You could serve this over rice, with egg rolls, with noodles, whatever you'd like.  I decided to make some scallion pancakes, since I had lots of green onions leftover and wanted something bready and savory with the soup.  I found a recipe online and modified it a bit.

Scallion Pancakes with Garlic Sesame Dipping Sauce (makes 3 large pancakes)
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt/pepper
canola oil (for coating the pan for frying)
Place the flour in a bowl, and slowly add the boiling water.  Mix it in as you go.
Once the water is somewhat combined, roll the dough out onto a floured work surface
and knead it into a soft ball (about a minute or so).  Coat the ball with a bit of oil and set aside for half an hour.
In the meantime, grate the ginger and mince the scallions, then toss them together with the sesame oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper and set aside.
 
When the dough is ready, roll it out into a large rectangle, and spread a little oil or cooking spray on the surface of the dough.
Add the scallion mix, then roll it up into a tube, making sure to pinch the ends shut.
 
Once your tube is ready, roll it into a spiral, like a big cinnamon bun.
 Then flour the top and bottom a little more, and carefully roll it flat with a rolling pin.
 
Some scallions will pop out, but don't fret. Just make sure the dough is pretty thin (1/4"?).  Heat up your skillet or griddle, coat with oil and fry 3-5 minutes per side or until the middle is cooked. 
 
 Cut into wedges and serve hot hot hot!  I added sliced oranges for a sweet life too. :)
I made a simple dipping sauce with 3 tbsp. soy sauce. 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp. Frank's RedHot sauce, and one finely minced scallion.  Yummy!
Served alongside the hot and sour soup, it was an impressive yet simple lunch.
I hope you might make this for your family sometime, maybe for "Meatless Mondays".  I really think even die-hard carnivores would enjoy it.

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I'M SOOO EXCITED!! Thank you! My hubby loves scallion pancakes and he will be so thrilled that I can make them for him!!! Yay!

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  2. You make a lot of dishes that are popular in Hawaii...I'll have to try these out!

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  3. I admit when I started reading this I thought no way this is happening at my house, but by the end, I thought maybe just maybe I could actually pull it off!~

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  4. A little like blueviolet - we aren't vegetarians, so no tofu around here. Looks like a lot of work - but the end result looks very tasty!

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  5. This looks so amazing Kathleen! I've been slowly starting to cook lately {nothing too major}, and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to try. This sounds perfect xD

    Thanks for sharing!!

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