Try this vegetarian Asian soup as a light lunch or an appetizer before a sushi feast.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp minced gingerroot
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar (plus more to taste)
4 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 (8 oz.) package firm tofu, sliced into 1/4" cubes
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Step 1: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add broth, mushrooms and soy sauce; reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 2: In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, cornstarch, and 3 tbsp water until smooth. Add this to the soup and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes or until soup becomes thick and bubbly.
Step 3: Add in the sesame oil, tofu and water chestnuts and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Taste and add 1 or 2 tsp rice wine vinegar if you prefer a more sour soup. To serve, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sliced scallions.
Makes 4 to 6 servings