This soup was supposed to be a distraction. A couple of months ago, before the steam of summer had fully set in, I got myself really excited about a recipe I found online for General Tso’s tofu. But I knew the BF would get hung up on the word “tofu” so I tracked down a simplified version of his favorite Chinese takeout dish — hot and sour soup — and proposed a night of homemade takeout favorites. I imagined it would be slightly more work than dialing up Fortune House*, but that we would be rewarded with a table covered with those cute little white takeout boxes full of healthier, spiced-up versions of all our favorite dishes. (We do not own any of those boxes. That was just me being overly romantic about this whole endeavor.)
Turns out General Tso’s involves a lot of sugar and a complicated amount of frying. So while we were waiting for the second layer of breading to set (?) we slurped this hot and sour soup at the kitchen table. I had talked up my “General Tso’s stir fry” for days (I know better than to toss the T-word around), but by the time it was finally done, it was completely upstaged by the soup-that-was-supposed-to-just-be-a-cover-story.
It’s a heartier version of the Americanized take-out classic, with big chunks of tofu and mushrooms swimming in a spicy, tangy broth and surrounded by swirls of egg. It’s also really easy (you just sort of throw everything into the pot) and it didn’t even require a trip to a specialty grocery store. This soup quickly made its way into our regular rotation, until we abandoned the stove for the entire summer. But now that the temperatures are falling and leaves are turning, I expect we’ll have quite a few homemade takeout nights (still without those cute little white boxes, though).
Flashback! One year ago on Leighto-Greato: Three Bean Veggie Chili
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 T. grated fresh ginger
- 1 bunch scallions, separated into white and green parts and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 14 oz. soft tofu, drained and chopped into bite-sized cubes
- 4 c. chicken stock
- ⅓ c. rice vinegar
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 t. sesame oil
- 1 T. sriracha
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- Add the oil to a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and white pieces of the green onions (reserve the greens for garnish), and saute until fragrant -- about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and stir until they are covered in oil and softened, about another 2 minutes.
- Add the tofu, chicken stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, oil and sriracha, and stir to combine.
- Bring the soup up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs. Stirring constantly, add the eggs in a slow, steady stream to the boiling soup. Allow the eggs to cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
- Garnish with green parts of green onions and serve hot.
*Turns out our neighbors and best friends, Philip and Elizabeth, also dial up Fortune House from time to time.**
**Also, if Daily Mail hadn’t cropped those photos, you would see that Keri Russell is standing in front of Henry Street favorite Fortune House. (It has mediocre Yelp reviews because it’s mediocre.) The proof is in season 4, episode 11 (“Dinner for Seven”), even if the shot apparently wasn’t sufficiently important to make it onto the internet.