Hot & Sour Soup
“The most delicious soup that I’ve ever had is our own Hot & Sour soup that we serve at La Thai,” said Diana Chauvin Gallé, the executive chef and owner of La Thai in New Orleans. “It’s my mom’s recipe. I’ve been eating it since I was 7 years old, and it’s still my absolute favorite.”
Her mother, Punnee, affectionately known to all as Mama, introduced Thai food to the New Orleans dining scene in the 1970s, when she moved there from Bangkok.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup hot bean sauce
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 chicken breast, steamed then chopped into small pieces (fat included)
- 1/4 pound silken tofu, julienned
- 1/2 cup drained canned bamboo shoots, julienned
- 1/2 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms (about 2 medium or 1 large), soaked in water for 1 hour, rinsed and julienned
- 6 small dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 30 minutes, julienned
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chinkiang vinegar (Chinese black rice vinegar)
- 6 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
- 1/2 scallion, finely chopped, for garnish
Heat a large, flat-bottomed wok over high until hot. Add oil, then bean sauce, and cook until fragrant, about 5 seconds.
Add stock, wine, sugar, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
Add chicken, tofu, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, and bring back to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 3 minutes.
In a bowl, stir cornstarch together with 3 tablespoons water. Uncover wok and return soup to a boil. Stirring constantly, add in the cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and stir in the vinegar. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.
Recipe by Diana Chauvin Gallé, owner and executive chef, La Thai, New Orleans