Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup is one of my favorite soups to order in an Asian restaurant.  I have finally perfected it by using a variation of a recipe I found from

Here is how I make it...

I have tried hot and sour soup everywhere...some I have loved and others, not so much.  This recipe is all about taste for I just keep tasting during preparation until it's right.  So, I must admit, I do cheat a little bit...I buy an already prepared applewood smoked pork loin from Harris Teeter.  It is full of flavor and really makes this recipe easier.  This soup can be prepared in about 20 minutes.  I start by heating, almost to a boil, one box of Rachel Ray's Chicken Stock.  Once heated, I add the pork, which I cut into strips, about a teaspoon of garlic chili sauce (add more or less depending on your desired heat level), 1 to 2 jars of shiitake mushrooms (drained and rinsed), and about 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce.  Initially, I add about 1/2 cup of the soy sauce, but may add more later if need be.  Allow all of these ingredients to simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.  

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper, one small can of bamboo shoots (drained, rinsed and cut into tiny strips), and about 1/2 Cup of white vinegar. You can also add tofu at this point, if you prefer.  I typically do not. Mix around a little, then give it a may have to add just a touch more soy sauce and/or vinegar..again...this recipe is all about taste. When you get it to the desired taste, mix about 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with just a bit of water in a small bowl to make a slurry (not too thin). Bring the pot to almost a boil, then add the cornstarch slurry, all the while mixing with a slotted spoon.  Soup should start to become thicker, just to an almost gravy-like consistency.  In a small bowl, beat an egg white with a fork and add to soup, mixing as you pour it in.  You will see the egg form thin white ribbons throughout the soup.  Lastly, ENJOY!  I like mine with a little bit of rice. You can also substitute the pork with tofu for a vegetarian version.