Vietnamese Hot and Sour Tamarind Soup

½ onion- diced (1 cup) 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil 3-4 cloves garlic chopped 2 Cups sliced mushrooms (shiitakes or cremini) 4 Roma or vine ripened tomatoes- diced into 1 inch pieces 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper 4 cups vegetable stock 1 teaspoon soy sauce 8 oz firm tofu, cut into ¾ inch cubes 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste (or tamarind concentrate) or sub lime juice ¼ Cup chopped cilantro ¼ C chopped chives or scallions Chili flakes or Aleppo pepper to taste In a Medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat, add diced onions. Saute until tender, stirring often, about 4 - 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are just tender, about 3-4 more minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Saute until tomatoes begin to melt, about 2-3 minutes. Add stock and soy sauce (optional). Add tofu and tamarind paste ( or lime juice). Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Taste for balance. Add salt to taste. Serve in a bowls with chopped cilantro and chives and chili flakes. Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a starter!

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