Saturday, December 17, 2005

Eat Drink Man Woman

All of the festive cooking and eating for the holidays has left me feeling stuffed, bloated and with a few unwelcome pounds. Earlier this week I decided to make a conscious effort to eat lighter and healthier for a change, as I have been junkin' it up BIG time since Thanksgiving. My plan is to lay off of the bad carbs for a bit, well until Christmas at least, and focus more on lean protein and increased water consumption. I'm even thinking of transitioning to a low-carb way of eating after the holidays are over.

Now that the cold weather seems to have finally settled in for a bit this is the perfect time for one of my favourite Asian dishes, Chinese Hot & Sour Soup. I absolutely adore this soup, which also happens to be low carb. Whenever I venture out for Chinese I almost always have a small bowl of this soup as an appetizer. Today I decided it would be a good choice for a light and healthy dinner to enjoy while watching The Joy Luck Club and one of my favourite foodie movies, Eat Drink Man Woman (both excellent, I highly recommend).

Feeling a bit adventurous, I opted to try my hand at making a pot on my own rather than the usual restaurant takeaway. My only dilemma was which recipe to use. A couple of my cookbooks have recipes and I found several others on the Web. While most are quite similar, I decided to try this one from Epicurious. Of course I did my usual tweaking to make the soup a bit more robust for my taste, but for the most part I was faithful to the recipe ... well, the ingredients at least. My adaptation includes these changes:

1. 1 lb. of pork loin instead of 5 oz.
2. 2 tbs. of soy sauce on the pork instead of 2 tsp.
3. Stir-fried the pork loin for about 5 minutes instead of 1.
4. Combined the chicken stock and pork, simmered for about 25 min.
5. 12 medium dried shiitake mushrooms instead of black ones.
6. Added 8 oz. thickly sliced button mushrooms.
7. An entire 20-oz. can of Bamboo shoot (strips).
8. Only used rice wine vinegar, about 1/2 cup.
9. 4 14-oz. cans of chicken broth instead of 4 cups.
10. Added the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms, about 3 cups.
11. Added 1 cup of scallions (green onions) into the soup pot at the end.
12. 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, instead of 2 whole eggs.
13. Used 2 tsp. black pepper instead of 1.5 tsp. white.
13. 2 tbs. of Asian sesame oil instead of 2 tsp.
14. 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens per bowl.
15. 3 tablespoons fresh diced cilantro leaves per bowl.
16. Added 1 to 2 tsp. of Thai hot sauce (Sriracha) to each bowl.*

*Didn't want to risk adding too much heat to the entire pot since I'm not the only one eating it. Aren't I considerate?

That's pretty much it, I think. Wow, 16 changes. I didn't realise I modified the recipe that much. Oh well, oh well. It's all good. I had fun and the soup is delicious. Now I'm off to enjoy it, my movies ... and get cozy with a bottle of Riesling and my guest!

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At Sunday, December 18, 2005 7:41:00 AM, Blogger Miss Rachel said...

Your soup looks yummy. I made a vegetarian Hot & Sour Soup once from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East cookbook. It was good, but I remember it being a lot of work - ! I had fun going to Asian food shops to get the ingredients though.

Do you think you may start updating your Art of Balance site some time? I'm such a glutton (ha!) for fitness blogs.

At Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:02:00 PM, Blogger Jasmine said...

This looks really good. H&S soup is a favourite of The Fussy Eater -- especially when he's sick. Am keeping this one :)

Can't see an email addy -- please email me when you have a mo:
cardamomaddict at gmail dot com.


At Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:05:00 PM, Blogger Jasmine said... comment has disappeared into the ether -- forgive if this turns up twice.

This soup looks great -- will remember this the next time The Fussy Eater is ailing.

When you have a moment, please email me at cardamomaddict at gmail dot com.


At Monday, December 19, 2005 7:49:00 AM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Hey Miss Rachel!

Thank you, ma'am. Believe it or not, that soup really wasn't very difficult to prepare and it didn't take as long as I thought. I also enjoy shopping at Asian markets as well as other ethnic stores. I always learn something new when I go.

As for AOB, I'm not really sure if or when I'll update there again, but I am certain that I'm must and will re-start my fitness programme in the new year. I'll keep ya posted.

"Glutton for fitness...," girl, you're too funny!

Hey Jasmine!

Thanks for the visit and comments, lady. Yes, the H&S soup is really good and I was quite pleased that mine turned out so well. This recipe is definitely a keeper. And it is known to have medicinal properties. It's one of my favourites, particularly when I'm a bit under the weather. Always makes me feel better. :o)

At Friday, December 23, 2005 11:40:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Fisher said...

I always add galangal and lemongrass to mine. It adds a definate depth to the soup that really makes people come back for more.

And--the galangal is great if you have a cold or a cough.

I love your photograph of it--a lovely bowl!

At Friday, December 30, 2005 9:53:00 PM, Anonymous Mixed Masala said...

Hey Barbara!

How nice to see you drop by. Thanks for the tips and compliments. I will definitely try adding lemongrass (which I love) and galangal (if I can find it) to my next pot of H&S. I've heard lots of good things about this close relative of ginger and am looking forward to the experience.


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