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Can You Unspell Soup?


If you cook at home daily, every so often your own dishes begin to taste too familiar and mundane.

To break this spell, try making Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. Simple, quick and lively, it will be an addition to your soup repertoire. And if you still haven't tried tofu, this soup introduces a way to use it.

Cunningham's newest book is "Learning to Cook With Marion Cunningham" (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999).

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

1/4 pound mushrooms

1/4 pound spinach

2 green onions

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

3 tablespoons vinegar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

6 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons cornstarch

5 tablespoons water

3/4 pound (12 ounces) tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

* Wipe mushrooms clean with damp paper towel. Break stem off each and set aside. Thinly slice caps, then stack them into a pile and cut in half. Rinse spinach in cold water and dry well. Trim roots and most of green tops from onions and thinly slice. Set aside.

* Mix soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce. Set aside.

* Combine broth, mushrooms and spinach in large pot. Simmer over medium heat 4 minutes.

* Stir soy sauce mixture into broth. Taste and add more soy sauce or hot sauce--whatever you feel would improve and balance flavor.

* Mix cornstarch and water and add to broth. Stir a couple of minutes to blend. Add tofu and continue to stir; cornstarch mixture will give a slight thickness to broth. Serve hot (or cold) with a sprinkle of chopped green onions on top.

4 servings. Each serving: 289 calories; 1,563 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 0.62 gram fiber.


Plates, teapot and place mat from Lifestylz, Larchmont Village.

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