My mom sent me this picture this morning. She went for a walk on the mountain overlooking my childhood home. It was so beautiful but so desolate at the same time.
In the winter in Maine, there really isn’t such a thing as a fresh vegetable. Everything is shipped thousands of miles. Yes, the peppers and tomatoes are bright red but they don’t really taste like much. The only things that can really perk up dishes this time of year are snappy fresh herbs. They can cut through the heavy stews and roasts of winter and add that much needed pop of freshness to remind you that spring will once again come.
As usual, my response to all this was food related. I thought, how about I make a recipe that will be just as good in cold wintery Maine as it is in sunny Hawaii? I wanted to use only ingredients that would be available there in February. Since citrus trees are actually pretty hardy, lots of people actually have them as houseplants so even the kaffir lime leaves are accessible! My mom usually gets a big handful from a friend and dries them to use as she needs. Hopefully, by next year, I will have convinced her to have her own growing. If only we weren’t banned from sending sending citrus from Hawaii to the mainland! This soup is fast, easy, and spicy enough to be very different from the soups you get sick of eating time after time. You could easily make it vegetarian instead with veggie stock or add some rice noodles and veggies for a more substantial dish. I hope that it can break the winter blues!
Happy cooking and keep warm out there! ~ Molly
Hot & Sour Soup
- 4 cups chicken or pork stock
- 1 cup firm tofu, ½” cubes
- 1 cup mushrooms, bite size pieces
- ⅓ cup dried mushrooms
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chili oil
- ¼ cup scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- Simmer stock, soy sauce, chili oil, rice wine vinegar, kaffir limes leaves, and dried mushrooms until mushrooms are softened and have seasoned the stock, approx 5 minutes
- Add tofu; simmer 5 minutes, until heated through
- Add mushrooms; simmer 2-3 minutes, until just cooked
- Serve topped with scallions