SUAN LA TANG (Chinese hot and sour soup, for four)

For the pork:

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon brandy

1 teaspoon cornstarch

a small pork tenderloin, cut into ¼ inch dice (1 pound or less)

For the soup:

8 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cayenne

14 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into ¼ inch cubes

1 small potato, cut into ¼ inch cubes

6 shiitake or wood ear mushrooms, cut into ¼ inch wide slices

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, for garnish


1.   For the pork:  Combine the soy sauce, brandy and cornstarch in a medium bowl; add pork and toss until combined.  Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2.   For the soup:   Whisk together stock, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, pepper, salt, cayenne and ¼ cup water in a 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Add pork, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens, about 30 minutes.  Add tofu, potatoes and mushrooms and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

3.   Without stirring, slowly drizzle egg into simmering soup in a thin, steady stream.  When egg strands float to the surface, stir in oil.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

adapted from Saveur Magazine

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