Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup
When it comes to meal planning, I have the most difficult time with lunches, week after week. Working full time makes lunch especially challenging. Personally, I’ll be damned if I’m going to plan 5 different lunches for the work-week, so I’ll prep a monster-lunch on Sunday and eat it Monday through Friday.
Thusly, lunch needs to fit the following criteria:
1. easy and quick to assemble
2. ingredients must stay fresh through Friday
3. must hold my interest all week- this is crucial, as there is an entire Portland city-block of food carts 20 steps from my workplace.
Enter this Hot and Sour Soup, which has been serving me very well the last couple of weeks. Not only does it fit all three lunch-happiness-criteria, it is also satisfying, healthy, and a perfectly warm foil to the chill that has begun filling the air these days. It’s soup and sweater season, friends.
My recipe is adapted from Caroline’s over at pickledplum. I made some changes to simplify it for daily assembly, scale up for the week, and to make it vegetarian. To make this appropriate for a week of lunches, I slice the veggies and tofu and store in individual containers in the refrigerator, and then prepare the hot and sour broth with egg drop and store separately. If you’re making this soup to serve a crowd all at once, you can just throw the veggies and tofu in after finishing up the broth, and cook for 3 minutes or so to soften the mushrooms before serving.
The veggies/tofu in my recipe are the things that I like- for one, I can’t stand the texture and canned-flavor of bamboo shoots, so I’ve opted for bean sprouts as a crunchier, fresher option. Secondly, I think that this soup traditionally includes pork. I shy away from eating meat more than once a week or two, and opt for tofu-only to keep it lighter and (bonus) simpler to whip up. It’s flexible! Explore your options. My friend Rachel likes it with udon noodles, and I can totally get on board with that.
- 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
- 8 oz. shiitake or oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 c. mung bean sprouts
- 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 6 c. water plus 2 T. Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (or 6 c. vegetable broth)
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- 3 T. rice vinegar
- 2 T. soy sauce or tamari
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 3 T. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 c. water
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Prep your veggies and tofu and store in separate containers in the refrigerator. Be sure to cover the tofu cubes with water before putting away.
- Bring water to boil, add vegetable base. Stir to combine. Add pepper, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- Re-stir cornstarch slurry and add to the pot. Stir for 2 minutes and allow to thicken slightly.
- Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer. While stirring broth continuously, drizzle the egg into the pot in a very slow, thin stream (a pyrex measuring cup is great for this).
- Remove soup from heat and allow to cool before packaging and storing in the refrigerator.
- When it's lunchtime, combine a portion of soup with some veggies and tofu and reheat.