This dish is like a hot soup with toppings-sort of akin to congee. In a weird way, it also reminds me of black bean soup with a dash of vinegary hot sauce, even though it’s the opposite color. You should be able to taste the creamy soybeans, but it’s also slightly curdled by the black vinegar. I’ve made this recipe with a small amount of soy sauce, and you can add the salty, pickled vegetables optionally; they will add more saltiness to the soup. You can always season it with more soy sauce or chile oil at your own discretion. Note that freshly made soy milk (recipe here) is only good for two or three days after making, and best enjoyed the same day it is made; it spoils very quickly (and you will know it by its smell).
- Warm the homemade soy milk in a pot and bring just to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in individual serving bowls, add 1 tablespoon of the rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon each of the sesame oil and soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon each of the optional pickled vegetables to the bottom. Bring the soy milk over medium heat to a very hot temperature, just barely bringing it to a boil. Ladle about 1 cup each of the hot soy milk into each bowl of the seasonings. Sprinkle each bowl with white pepper, top with the chopped scallions and youtiao pieces, and serve with a spoon.
Cathy Erway is the author of the cookbook The Food of Taiwan and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She is the host of the Heritage Radio Network podcast Eat Your Words and the new podcast from Blue Apron and Gimlet Creative, Why We Eat What We Eat. She blogs at Not Eating Out in New York.