Hot And Sour Soup
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 pound boneless pork loin
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
- 1/2 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions for garnish
- Whisk together 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch in a bowl.
- Cut the pork crosswise into thin slices, then cut each slice into sticks no more than 1/2 inch wide.
- Add the meat to the bowl; toss to coat it in the soy mixture and let it sit.
- Put the stock, garlic, and ginger in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to low so that the liquid bubbles steadily, and cook until the mushrooms are softened and the broth is darkened a bit, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Bring the soup back to a boil over medium heat and add the meat.
- Stir to make sure the pieces do not stick together and cook until the meat is no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tofu, celery, vinegar, a generous sprinkle of black pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
- Lower the heat so the soup bubbles and cook until the flavors meld a bit, a minute or two.
- Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup water in a bowl to make a slurry.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture into the soup and cook, stirring, until it just begins to thicken, 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil; taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, soy sauce, or vinegar.
- Garnish with the cilantro and scallions and serve.