A winter treat: Scrumptious Szechuan hot and sour soup

Published: January 2, 2013

We mostly go for canned ready-to-cook soup, but the best soup is homemade. PHOTO: TANVEER KHADIM

I love soup at any time of the year, but in winter, it’s a wonderful treat on chilly days. Nothing is more satisfying than a hearty bowl of soup when you need to be warm and nourished. But the question is what kind of soup?

In general, we all go for quick, time saving, ready-to-cook canned food options. This is a cop-out.

Real soup is scrumptious and tantalising. It nourishes both your body and mind, provides added health benefits and helps to ward off the cold or flu.

I personally love the recipe of my homemade “Szechuan hot and sour soup”. Originating from Szechuan province of China, Szechuan cuisine is generally pretty spicy, sour, strong, hot, sweet, vinegary and aromatic.

This soup is made from a variety of ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms, chicken, tofu, egg, carrots and peppers. These healthy components not only provide a wealth of flavour, but also carbohydrates, proteins, fats, a lot of minerals and vitamins.

The soup has an appealing smooth yet crunchy texture and a slightly thickened, velvety consistency. Overall, it looks rich and is bold in flavour.

Best of all, the recipe does not require hours of work in kitchen – all it demands are a few simple steps in its preparation.

Reduce the amount of seasoning and peppers if you like, but for the full effect, I recommend using all the suggested spices.

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients

6 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of boneless chicken cubes

Carrots, julienned 1/2 cup

Bamboo shoots, julienned 1/2 cup

Button mushrooms thinly sliced 1/2 cup

Spring onion chopped 1/2 cup

2 green chillies, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped (optional)

Cilantro (coriander leaves) chopped 1/2 cup

Tofu cubes,1/2 cup (optional)

1 beaten egg

 

Seasoning

Soya sauce 4 tbsp

Chilli sauce 2 tbsp

Hot sauce 2 tsp

White vinegar 4 tbsp

Sugar 1 tsp, heaped

Chili oil 1 tsp

White pepper powder 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Cornstarch 4 tbsp, dissolved in 4-5 tbsp of water

 

Method

Heat chicken stock in a large pot.

Add chicken and cook for eight minutes.

Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots. Reduce flame and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add green chillies, red pepper and green onion. Stir well.

Add all the seasoning except cornstarch. Stir well and simmer for five minutes.

Now add cornstarch (dissolved in water) until consistency is slightly thicker. Stir continuously.

Lastly add beaten egg into the soup.

Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro.

 

Tips

You can use chicken cubes instead of chicken stock. Keep in mind that instant stock chicken cubes contain salt, so you don’t need to add extra salt. At the end, taste the soup and than add salt according to your taste.

You can use dried shiitake mushrooms instead of button mushrooms. Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes, remove the stems and cut into thin slices.

Instead of chili oil, you can use sesame oil.

Enjoy your hot bowl of delicious looking soup! Its taste does justice to the way it looks.

Happy winter and happy cooking!

PHOTOS: TANVEER KHADIM

Tanveer Khadim

Tanveer Khadim

An avid reader, freelance writer and a blogger, Tanveer is pursuing fashion designing. She has a passion for cooking, attended cookery courses and tweets as @TheFusionDiary (twitter.com/TheFusionDiary)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Tim Gunnery

    just made this….nice & tastey….not too heavy eitherRecommend

  • Parvez

    I love soups and am very much a soup and sandwich guy, but I read somewhere that its a myth that soups are nourishing. Is that true ???Recommend

  • Zainab Haq

    Looks yummy I need to make a quick trip to the store to buy some of the ingredients.Recommend

  • Abbs

    this is making me hungry, gonna try itRecommend

  • Jia Ali

    The soup looks tempting and lovely photography.Recommend

  • Mrs Aftab Nawab

    I have never used mushrooms in soup. This recipe sounds interesting it will help me in feeding my kids healthy food.Recommend

  • http://SA SA

    good recipe. i always thought that about you Parvez sahab :)Recommend

  • Tanveer Khadim

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments and appreciation.

    @Tim Gunnery I’m so glad that you have tried this recipe :)

    @Parvez The combination of fat, protein, carbohydrates is healthy without adding too many calories.

    Thanks again :)
    TanveerRecommend

  • Sane

    Taking off from my work to make soup.Recommend

  • Nephew

    Khaala ilaqay main gas band hay..when gas comes on, will surely make itRecommend

  • Down Under

    Tried it today, looks and tastes good too! Easy to make. Good job! Care to share some more?Recommend