Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Hot and Sour Soup
The Chinese deserve all the credit for coming up with the unlikely but delightful pairing of vinegar for sourness and lots of ground pepper for heat. Add plenty of umani flavor from shiitake and creminis and you have the backbone of a warming, satisfying soup that sure hits the spot.
If you have access to traditional Chinese fungi like tree ears, black fungus, and day lily buds, by all means, include them, but this hot and sour soup variation relies on less exotic fare like cauliflower, tomato, and spinach. Instead of tofu, we use tempeh for its rich contribution of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins, a prebiotic that beneficial gut microbes adore. And to keep the sodium lower than classic Chinese soups, we’ll season with miso.
Prep time - 25 minutes Cook time - 40 minutes Serves 8
1 block tempeh, cubed
2 cups no-sodium veggie broth or 1/3 cup dehydrated veggies in 2 cups water
2 Tablespoons aka (red) miso •
1 large red onion, peeled, halved, sliced stem to root
2-3 cups mix of fresh shitake mushroom caps and cremini, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, peeled, sliced stem to root
1” gingerroot, peeled, chopped
1 fresh red Thai chili, chopped (omit if you prefer a less spicy soup)
2 quarts no-sodium veggie broth
1 medium-large cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups baby spinach whole or adult spinach, torn
1 bunch scallion, sliced thinly
⅓- ½ cup red (aka) miso • or to taste
2 Tablespoons golden flaxseed, freshly ground ••
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
1 ½ - 2 teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground •• (for a less spicy soup, use less pepper)
2 Tablespoons date paste from ½ cup dried pitted dates
5 Tablespoons arrowroot
• Miso is a good salt alternative shown to lower heart rate and not elevate blood pressure
•• Freshly ground spices, like pepper, and seeds, like flax, will raise your dishes to a new level, delivering far much lively and nuanced flavor and enhanced nutritional benefits.
Simmer tempeh cubes for 15 minutes in broth or dehydrated veggies in water, seasoned with miso. Drain. Set side.
Make Date Paste
We’ll use date paste in lieu of traditional mirin, a traditional refined sugar syrup, for its fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pit and roughly chop ½ cup of dates. Place in a small bowl, cover with water, heat in a microwave for 90 seconds to rehydrate. Alternatively, simmer for a few minutes on the stove. Cool. Purée the dates and soaking water in a blender. Set aside. Date paste stores well in the fridge for weeks.
Prepare Finishing Roux
Add all the roux ingredients to a bowl. Stir well to combine into a uniform paste.
Make the Soup
In a 7-8 quart soup pot, dry sauté onion over medium heat until it softens and begins to darken. Toss in the mushroom and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pot with a splash of broth, scraping up any carmelized sugars adhered to the bottom of the pot. Add ginger, garlic, and chili, if using, and cook for a few minutes.
Add all the broth, bring to a boil, and immediately lower to a simmer. Stir in cauliflower and cooked tempeh. After 5 minutes add the tomatoes and the finishing roux. Simmer for 15 minutes to blend all flavors.
3 minutes before serving, stir in spinach and scallion. Turn off heat. Remove 2 cups of the soup’s liquid and dissolve the miso in it. Return the seasoned soup liquid to the pot and stir to spread it throughout the soup. Taste to correct any seasonings to your tastes.
Serve in warm bowls and savor the flavor.
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