Whenever Pakistani people go to a Chinese restaurant they order chicken corn soup, and for good reason – the stuff is good. But sometimes you want to try something different, and in 1988 in Agra (city of the Taj Mahal) I decided to give Hot and Sour soup a try (seeing how I would add lemon juice and hot sauce to chicken corn soup anyway, something called “hot and sour” would have tempted me sooner or later). It was alright, but nothing special. I go back to the chicken corn.
Fast forward almost a decade. It’s my first year at university and my parents have helped me move my stuff into residence. As a treat they decide to take me out to dinner and we end up at a Chinese restaurant in town. Perhaps in anticipation of a new phase of my life I decide to try something besides the chicken corn, and the only soup not screaming pork was the hot and sour so I ordered it. This time it was so very, very good. Whenever the opportunity presented itself I would order hot and sour. However, with no Chinese restaurant near campus opportunities were few and far between.
Fast forward a few years. I’m off rez now and have to cook my own food. At some point an idea comes to me: I can make the soup myself. The internet is searched for recipes, many are tried. None are good enough. But combining the knowledge from the various recipes the best one is modified until I’m happy with it (not unlike the various smaller robots combining to make Voltron). But this recipe comes with a price – no longer am I satisfied with the hot and sour at restaurants, only mine will do.
When I went to Japan I had the recipe burned onto a CD along with other important files (resumes, computer account information, and so on) so that it wouldn’t be lost. It’s pretty much memorized, but something could happen causing me to forget (think blunt head trauma) and having it in front of me makes it less likely I’ll forget a key ingredient when grocery shopping.
I figure I’ll share it with the rest of the world.