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Celebrate Chinese New Year with hot and sour soup filled with soft tofu, lily flowers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and cloud ear fungus. This soup is delicious and easy to make, great for a cold winter day.
My family loves soup, and this particular one shows up at our dinner table pretty often, especially during the holidays. And what better way to celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Sheep than with our favorite dishes? For me, that means soup, eggrolls, and noodles. Oh, and sweets!
I’ve also mentioned before that I’m a major snacker. I prefer to eat many little dishes over one big dish. In other words, I love my soups and appetizers. Soup plus eggrolls? I’m set.
So, today, I want to share with you a brand new recipe, and a peek at some of the other dishes and traditions that we have. A little early, of course, since Chinese New Year falls on February 19 this year.
While the regular New Year is about New Year’s resolutions, Chinese New Year is about luck, prosperity, and longevity. So almost every tradition has something to do with that.
We have trays of fruits on display. Pomelos for prosperity, and tangerine for wealth and luck. Eggrolls to represent wealth and prosperity since they look like bricks of gold. A tray or plate full of sweets to bring sweetness in for the New Year (and so visitors can snack on). Long noodles for longevity. You can’t cut the noodles the day of the New Year (or your birthday) because the longer your noodles, the longer your life. There are tons of traditions out there. And each family celebrates the New Year differently. This was just a set up to show you what our New Year’s celebration could look like, but I’ll take photos for the actual day and share it later in the month.
Each year, it gets super hectic in our house. Leading up to Chinese New Year, the house has to be cleaned and the refrigerator and freezer cleared out. We always make a ton of food, enough to eat for days. And sometimes to make things easier, we just buy premade foods. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming because there’s just soo much to do.
To make life easier, I bought these Tai Pei® eggrolls and spring rolls from Walmart instead of individually wrapping and frying them. Makes my life less complicated.
There are different varieties too. You can buy chicken, vegetable, pork, or shrimp depending on your preference. They take only minutes to make in the oven and come out crispy on the outside loaded with ingredients on the inside. Plus it comes with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Which is perfect since I love dipping.
And I love that you can discover your fortune on the side of the box too!
If you’d like to try Tai Pei® eggrolls and spring rolls or any of their appetizers, you can visit their Facebook page for a $2 off coupon until they run out. And you can follow on Twitter and Pinterest too!
Without having to spend all that time preparing the eggrolls, I can focus on making my soup to pair with the eggrolls.
Now, I’m obsessed with this hot and sour soup. And I am completely guilty of being judgmental at Chinese restaurants. I seriously can’t help it. It’s one of the basic dishes that every Chinese restaurant has so if you can’t get it right… I feel the same way about chicken teriyaki and California rolls at Japanese restaurants. Or pho at a Vietnamese restaurant. How can you get it wrong when it’s a common dish?
I love the savory and sour flavor and the different ingredients in this soup. It’s absolutely delicious and well, different. Because how often do you have dried lily flowers and cloud ear fungus in your soup? Probably not often.
It’s super easy to make with just one pot. So not much cleaning to do either. Yes!
First, soak the dried lily flowers and dried cloud ear fungus (also known as black fungus) in warm water for about 20 minutes. This will allow them to soften. If you’re using dried shiitake mushrooms, add the mushrooms into the water too. After 20 minutes, drain the lily flowers, cloud ear fungus, and mushrooms. Cut off the ends of the lily flowers, chop up the cloud ear fungus if needed, and slice the shiitake mushrooms into thin pieces.
Pour vegetable broth or chicken broth into a pot and heat the broth over medium to high heat.
Once the broth starts to boil, add the lily flowers, cloud ear fungus, shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoot strips, and salted radish vegetable preserves to the pot. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. The soup should darken because of the cloud ear fungus.
Stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, and chili oil. I used La-Yu, which is chili in sesame oil. You don’t have to add a lot of the chili oil, but you should add some since this is hot and sour soup. There has to be a little bit of spiciness. =)
Stir in the soft tofu, and allow them to cook for a few minutes. Then stir in the beaten eggs.
If you prefer the consistency of your soup to be thicker, whisk together cornstarch and water in a bowl, and slowly pour it into the soup, stirring as you pour. Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes before serving.
Serve the soup warm with eggrolls.
Seriously, what could be better?
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? I’d love to hear about your traditions!
- 4 cups vegetable broth/chicken broth
- ⅓ cup dried lily flowers
- ⅓ cup dried cloud ear fungus (black fungus)
- ½ cup bamboo shoot strips, drained
- ⅓ cup shiitake mushroom, sliced
- ½ bag of pickled spicy radish (about 50 grams)
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
- ½ package soft tofu, cubed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Crushed red pepper for garnish
- Scallions or green onions for garnish
- Soak the lily flowers and cloud ear fungus in warm water for about 20 minutes. If using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak those too. Once they have softened, cut the ends on the lily flowers, chop up the cloud ear fungus, and slice the shiitake mushrooms.
- In a medium sized pot, heat the broth over medium to high heat until it begins to boil.
- Once the broth has boiled, add the lily flowers, cloud ear fungus, shiitake mushrooms, and pickled radish. Stir to evenly incorporate these ingredients, and allow them to cook for a few minutes.
- Now, add the white vinegar, granulated sugar, salt, and chili oil. Stir to evenly combine the seasoning with the soup. Adjust the flavor of the soup to taste.
- Add the soft tofu, and slowly pour the beaten egg into the soup, stirring as you pour.
- Serve the soup warm topped with crushed red pepper and chopped scallions or green onions.
**To thicken the soup, whisk together 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Slowly add this mixture to the soup at the end, stirring as you add to avoid clumps.