I made a hot-and-sour soup based on an online recipe, omitting the pork, sugar and dried lilly buds.
The major flavoring components were:
- 1tsp White pepper (I used a supermarket-grade pre-ground variety)
- 2tblsp premium brand red wine vinegar
- 1tblsp good soy sauce
- 1tsp Sesame oil
- 1tsp Salt
- Small package (3oz) assorted dried and reconstituted wild mushrooms
- 4c Chicken stock as the base
I also added a tablespoon of Asian chili-garlic paste for extra heat.
The color was pale clear, not the rich brown or reddish-orange I'm used to at Asian restaurants. It smelled terrible - a definite barnyard odor once the white pepper was added. The taste was off as well - instead of a pleasing tangy heat, it was vinegary in an unpleasant way without being tangy, and not particularly hot despite some extra white pepper and chili-garlic paste.
While I can fix the heat (more chili paste!), I'm not certain how to fix the sour, the color or the aroma.
(Note: I cannot add sugar or solid meat to this dish for medical reasons. Sugar substitute should be OK, if that will really fix it.)