I caught a common cold a couple of days ago and the best remedy was to drink plenty of warm liquids like ginger tea, bone broth, rice gruel and plenty of soup. Personally I hate that life comes to a standstill when you are down with a cold or a flu. And being away from your home country doesn't help either, 'cuz memories of my mom lovingly pampering me with her delicious homemade food often makes me home sick!
When I'm under the weather I try to stay away from meat and stick with a vegetarian diet, while keeping in mind to nourish my body in a wholesome way. So this Hot n Sour soup is something I always make for the family. It's pretty easy to put together, and a great way to use up small bits of left over veggies in the refrigerator. The prep time takes a bit longer than the actual cooking process since there are loads of veggies to chop. You can mix and match any veggies to this as given in the ingredients list, this has a distinctive Chinese touch, so preferably use the kind of veggies associated with oriental dishes. My kids love seeing the colourful veggies floating in their bowls and they finish up their soup pretty fast actually. In fact at my place there is always some soup or the other every single day for the kids and even when we dine out, we all love a good comforting bowl of soup.
The spice level of the soup is very high actually, so for a kid friendly version, avoid all the chilies and black pepper. Hope you like my recipe and feel free to up the spice level even more if you're like a fiery experience.
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp finely chopped green chillies (optional)
1-2 tbsp finely chopped celery
1 small shallot/ onion finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped assorted veggies like cabbage, bok choy, carrots, baby corn, beans etc
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
3 tbsp cornstarch
Himalayan Salt to taste
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tsp white Vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth/ water
1/4 cup chopped spring onions for garnish
2 sliced red chillies
1 cup deep fried rice noodles
Heat the sesame oil in a large soup pot or casserole in a medium flame. Add to this the finely chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies, celery and tir this for 2 minutes until the garlic gets a golden colour. Then add the onion and the salt and stir fry once again. Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl add 1/2 cup warm water and blend the cornstarch completely. Once the onions become transparent, add the 2 cups of chopped veggies (minus the bell peppers), freshly crushed black pepper, vegetable broth/ water and bring this to a boil on a high flame. At this point, add the soy sauce and the vinegar and stir well. Now add the blended corn starch liquid while stirring continuously, this will quickly start to thicken, so make sure the flame is on low, cover this and let it cook for another 5- 10 minutes until the veggies are tender to the touch.
Do a taste check for seasoning and soy sauce, if needed you can add more broth/ water too and serve this delicious soup topped the chopped spring onions, sliced red chillies and fried rice noodles.
Tip- If you like meat, you can add chopped poached chicken to this soup or boiled noodles will add an extra twist to the soup, feel free to use what you have on hand. Vegans can add cubed tofu towards to the end to make it a full meal.