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Hot and Sour Soup

Warm, pleasantly pungent, and waistline-friendly, this is probably my favorite Chinese dish. Popular in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, this soup often includes dried lilies, tree ear fungus, and pig blood. (I'm telling you this to make you feel better about the tofu in mine!) Also very satisfying as a main.

From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis. Click here for more on my best-selling cookbook!

Hot-and-Sour Soup

Makes 4 Servings

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

3 tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable, as desired)

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut in strips

1 can (8 ounces) sliced bamboo shoots, drained, cut in strips

1 large carrot, cut in thin strips, about 1 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 large egg, well beaten

7 ounces firm tofu, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

3 large scallions, green parts only, diagonally sliced

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

In medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, pepper, cornstarch.

In large pot bring broth and two cups water to boil. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrot, ginger, return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, till mushrooms and carrots are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture briefly to recombine, add to pot while stirring, return to simmer, do not boil.

Stirring soup in a circular motion, drizzle in the egg and watch as ribbons form. Add tofu, half the scallions, sesame oil. Stir gently to combine.

When tofu is heated through, about 3 minutes, you are ready to serve. Garnish with remaining sliced scallions.

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