The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.10.05


Drop everything and put on a good broth

Sorry folks, the flu and cold season is upon us. A recent visit to the local drop in clinic for a preemptive flu shot tells a story.

There they were. A gaggle of coughing and spewing souls, waiting their turn to see the Doc. As I flipped through a sticky and ancient germ-laden Better Homes and Garden magazine I considered the age-old notion of chicken soup as a preventative and restorative measure against dreaded viruses.

Would there be so many people in line if they had just taken a little soup I wondered?

A quick survey of the room revealed the truth. No one had had soup in the past week except oneself. Ah ha!

Now is the time to sip a little preventative sustenance and I recommend simmering the soul and taking up the spoon. Drop everything and put on a good broth, dear reader.

Not just any soup will do, according to legend and myth. You must make use of good chicken broth for any cold-curing result. Placebo or not, this proverb makes for good practice as the proof is in the pudding (or soup) to be exact.

The preparation of a good Hot and Sour soup will set you on the right path to enlightenment and recovery if already afflicted. Let yourself take comfort in the Ying and Yang, or the Strawberry and the Tiger and make thee well.

This recipe employs cider vinegar as the sour as it carries its own health-inducing properties, according to many studies. Pepper sauce provides the necessary heat; soy; tofu, and chicken broth combine for a healing experience.

Ying and Yang Hot and Sour Soup


6 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cup fresh mushrooms -- wiped clean and sliced
1 1/2 cup fresh raw spinach -- washed
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/4 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1/2-teaspoon hot pepper oil or Tabasco -- sauce
3/4-pound tofu (soybean cake) -- cut in small dice
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 5 tablespoons water
1 egg -- beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 green onions -- finely chopped


Combine the chicken broth, mushrooms, and spinach in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, sesame seed oil, and the hot pepper oil or Tabasco together in a small bowl. (Taste the mixture carefully before adding full amount of pepper oil or Tabasco sauce.)

Stir until well blended, and add to the broth. Taste and correct the seasonings. Add the tofu and the cornstarch, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour the egg into the broth, stirring constantly until it forms into ribbons. Add the cilantro and onion and serve at once.