Cabbage is one of the only non-root vegetables that is available right now, and it's cheap, so I'm trying to get it into our dinner rotation more often. This weekend I wanted to play around with cabbage soup, and thought that the flavors of Chinese hot and sour soup would work really well. I've eaten hot and sour soup plenty of times at restaurants but had no idea what ingredients gave it its unique flavor, so it was fun to learn how to make it. It's really not that complicated - the ingredients are fairly basic, and the signature hot and sour flavor mainly come from white pepper and vinegar.
I started with a recipe from Gourmet Today and adapted it quite a lot, simplifying the ingredients (e.g. shiitakes instead of more obscure Chinese mushrooms), adding cabbage, using only 1 pot, and making it vegetarian. It came out really good - way, way better than the downright bland version I got last time I ordered Chinese takeout. How on earth did they make a bland hot and sour soup? I can't understand it. Anyway, I'm definitely glad I don't need to depend on restaurants anymore to get some!