Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

With the really cold weather setting in I was in the mood for a nice warming soup and as luck would have it I had a lot of the Asian style chicken broth leftover from when I made the Hainanese chicken rice. (The Asian style chicken broth is basically the broth leftover from poaching a chicken along with some garlic, ginger and green onions. You can then simmer the chicken bones in the broth to give it an even stronger flavour.) Whenever I eat out at Chinese restaurants one of the things that I like to order is the hot and sour soup and I had been wanting to try making it at home. I figured that the Asian chicken broth would work well in Chinese hot and sour soup and that the hot and spicy soup would be perfect for the deep freeze that we were in.

I found a bunch of recipes for hot and sour soup and used what I liked from each of them to come up with this one. I tried to keep the recipe as authentic as I could and that meant that there were a few ingredients that I was not familiar with including the tree ear mushrooms and the lily buds. Luckily it was easy enough to find them at a local Chinese grocery store. (I had previously used the black mushrooms and the Chinese black vinegar and I had found them at the same grocery store.)

Although the soup required a bit of prep work it was pretty easy and straight forward to make. As it was cooking I immediately recognized the smell and I was looking forward to the enjoying the soup. Chinese hot and sour soup is supposed to rely on the white pepper for the heat but when I taste tested it near the end I was not satisfied with the level of spiciness so I added a bit more heat in the form of some chili oil and chili sauce (already listed in the recipe below). With the additional seasoning the Chinese hot and sour soup ended up tasting just as good as it smelled! There was a nice balance of heat and sourness and the soup just tasted great! I really like the way the eggs were used in this soup and I will have to keep it in mind when making soups in the future. Luckily there are a lot of leftovers and they will help me through the next few really cold days.

Note: You could easily omit the pork and use an Asian flavoured vegetable broth to make a vegetarian friendly version.

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

This hot and sour soup is just packed with flavour and the tofu and egg drop give it an amazing texture not to mention all of those mushrooms.


Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 6 dried tree ear mushrooms (also known as wood ear mushrooms)
  • 6 dried black mushrooms
  • 8 dried lily buds (otherwise known as golden needles)
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 ounces pork loin (optional), cooked and shredded
  • 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1 package tofu, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili oil or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce or to taste
  • 4 green onions sliced
Directions
  1. Soak the tree ear and black mushrooms in boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes, and shred them.
  2. Soak the lily buds in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes, and shred them.
  3. Cover the bamboo shoots in water, bring to a boil, drain and shred.
  4. Mix the vinegars, soy sauce, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  5. Mix the cornstarch into the water in a bowl.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the pork, tree ear and black mushrooms, lily buds and bamboo shoots and saute for a minute.
  8. Add the broth and tofu and bring to a boil.
  9. Add the vinegar mixture and the cornstarch mixture and stir until it thickens.
  10. Pour the eggs into the soup in a thin stream while stirring the soup.
  11. Stir in the peppers, oils and chili sauce.
  12. Serve garnished with green onions.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup


Looking for more soup recipes?

91 comments:

Melissa said...

What an interesting name for a mushroom...tree ear. This sounds like a perfect soup for a day like today!

Sara said...

I love hot and sour soup, it's one my favorite soups of all time. I made the version from the Everyday Food cookbook, it was quite good.

ttfn300 said...

don't know if i've ever had this, but it sure sounds fantastic!!

pen and paper said...

Oh, boy! Hot and sour soup is one of my favorites. I live really close to a sort of generic Chinese restaurant that makes the best hot and sour soup I've ever had so I haven't had the urge to try making it myself - until now!

Patsyk said...

That's one of my favorite soups when we get Chinese food. Your soup looks very authentic.

Sharon said...

I'm like you too! We often get the hot and sour soup too! Delicious. Glad you decided to recreate it at home! Yum!

Dragon said...

I could use 2 bowls of this tonight. Sooooooo cold. :)

Elra said...

This soup is my favorite chinese soup, I normally add lots of sambal. Delicious and my mouth utterly drooling.

Tien said...

Nicely done, Kevin. The soup looks yummy.

giz said...

This is far and away my very favourite soup and I've never even tried to make it. Thanks for posting the recipe.

Ann said...

That yummy soup would have given you the warmth and the soothing touch you need in this climate..

Lisa said...

I love hot and sour sopu but i have never made it before. Nice recipe.

tigerfish said...

Another Chinese soup that I like. I need a napkin whenever I have this soup!

toni said...

I ADORE hot and sour soup! I just wish we'd get over this 80 degree weather already - I actually WANT winter. This soup looks divine!

justine said...

i love your blog; where do you get the inspiration to make such interesting foods???

Beachlover said...

wow! My hubby must love your hot and sour soup!! except he hate black fungus! usually I add green peas for him! good job! Kevin!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks really good! A delicious Chinese soup!

Cheers,

Rosa

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

Like you, I haven't cook with tree ears and lily buds before! daunting!

pigpigscorner said...

wow this looks really delicious!

Theresa said...

You strove for authentic and it shows and it gets the job done on these very chilling below "0" degrees.

Indonesia-Eats said...

This one is perfect for winter season. Everytime, I went to Chinese restaurant, i have to get the vegetarian version.

Happy cook said...

Wowo Delicious soup.
I have had them only in chinese places, never made them at home.
Bookmarking them too.

Chocolate Shavings said...

That sounds like a really hearty soup!

diva said...

AMAZING. this looks so good.

Nina Timm said...

Wow, what a list of ingredients....you have really done your homework and shopping well!! Soup looks great, pity I cannot smell it!

j & j dish it out said...

Wow, that looks amazing and tasty. Where do you get lily buds from?

Cathy said...

I'm sure I can find all these ingredients at my local Asian market. I love this combination of flavors.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

mmm! Looks delicious. I love hot and sour soup. Although that is an intimidatingly long ingredients list.

And my you've been busy in the kitchen lately. A regular blogging machine. I'm envious and inspired.

mikky said...

mmm... another old favorite :)

Lori said...

I have been meaning to make this for months now. Yours looks really good. I cant imagine you not cooking like this all your life.

Marjie said...

I've never made hot and sour soup, but I sure do love it!

Sylvie said...

Kevin, I've been getting my soup cookbooks out as well. Yours looks souper. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Maggie said...

This is one of my favorite soups of all time but I haven't tried to make it at home. Great looking recipe!

Tasty Trends said...

this soup sounds soo yummy for a cold winter day!

Yun said...

'tree ear' is a word for word translation from Chinese, but this fungus grows mostly on the bark of cut-down logs of several kinds of trees. The name came from its shape which somehow resembles that of an ear...
the soup looks yummy!

Manggy said...

I love that you added MORE spice. Definitely a way to my tummy! :) Looks delish!

Hayley said...

This sounds awesome. My dad is always trying to get me to make more Asian inspired meals. I can't wait to try this.

Dawn said...

I wish I had some of this right now. What a great close up shot. YUM

Clumbsy Cookie said...

All I want now is some nice warm soup, I bet this would do the trick!

Anonymous said...

I have a Filipino sour soup that is so good in the winter time. It can be eaten alone or over rice. Made with pork, spinach, etc. Mrs. L from Pages, Pucks and Pantry has the recipe. Roz, Mrs. L's Mom

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, I can almost taste it just by the photo. That looks amazing!!!

Jan said...

Hot and sour soup is one of my favorite Chinese soups too, yours looks so authentic I can taste it. Great job, Kevin.

Helene said...

Oh my, I'm envious of your meal tonight. I love coming and looking at all your great recipes.

Cheryl said...

looks delishious! I have made this once and it is worth it!

MaryBeth said...

WOW..that is a very long list. My husband is having a hard time containing himself...he loves this soup.

Amy said...

That looks amazing! I love hot & sour soup!

Jan said...

Nice looking soup and with all those lovely ingredients it must be delish!

Jamie said...

I absolutely love hot and sour soup and yours looks really great - so much better than mine the two times I have made it. Yummy! I'll write this recipe down!

Katie said...

This looks way better than any hot and sour soup that I have ever had.

Pam said...

One of my favorite soups but I've never made it before - thanks for a great recipe.

Alexa said...

Heart warming and delicious! One of my favorite soups...

canarygirl said...

Two words: Star. Ving. Hot and sour soup is one of my absolute favorites, and it has been over 5 years since I have had it (since we moved from the US)...Got to make me some o'dis!!!

Marye said...

Mmm...one of my vey favorites! This looks fantastic.

Jaime said...

i LOVE hot and sour soup! that's a long list of ingredients though

culinarycory.com said...

I love hot and sour soup! Yours looks yummy.

Brilynn said...

I love hot and sour soup when I'm eating out but it's rarely something I make at home. This sounds great!

Kalyn said...

One of my favorites! Yum!

Foodzings said...

long time reader, first time commenter. hot and sour soup is my fave! the complexity of your recipes astounds me! keep on cookin!

pianopris said...

I have been hungry for good hot sour soup! Have been to some Chinese restaurants that don't even come close! The best ever was
in Houston where I used to live
Empress of China- chef Scott Chen!!
OH my!!! Nothing like that here in Idaho!! So I don't have the lily
pods or black vinegar but am going
to try this recipe!!

clin said...

This is just a pet peeve of mine, but I wish people who posted comments (and I'm guilty of this too) would make the dish, then come back and say how it went. Almost always, the comments are "Looks great, hope to try it soon".

Alas, that's all I can offer.

I agree the rice vinegar is key. Although black vinegar is tasty, it's not particularly sour by itself.

Priscilla said...

Ok, here I am again!! I did make
this last night and it was/is fabulous!!!!! yum
I didn't have black vinegar and my oriental chili sauce was the sweet hot kind - lIove a little sweetness in this soup- had dried black fungus and dried shiitake mushrooms didn't have the lily pods or tree ear or bamboo (that isn't the canned kind is it?)- I added slivered
carrots and celery and green onion - wonderful and also slivered pork and cubes of tofu..great basic recipe to play around with!!!

Anonymous said...

Where can I ORDER BLACK VINGER also Lily Pad & mushrooms from?
Live on a Island in Alaska
have tryed alot of larger places that don't carry Vinger etc , I do alot
of mail ordering Anyone out their
that can give me a www # Thank You!

chinese girl said...

Good!
i love hot and it like from Sichuan China

Mermaiden said...

Hey, can you tell me what effect the lily buds have?

I've been trying to find the right ingredients to make some from scratch "my way" as well, but so far all we seem to do is use a mix and "doctor" it up a bit 'til it's just like we like. ;)
A lot of recipes call for those but I have no clue what they do, and I haven't found any just yet to try for myself.

Lorinda said...

a good way to add heat and also sourness is to use Texas Pete...(NOT Tabasco)

Jamie said...

Oh my where was I when you posted this? This is my absolute favorite soup and yours must be the best-looking one I have ever seen. Fab recipe!

t3peace said...

oh i love this one !

Jenn said...

omg this would be so good right now.

Alisa said...

This looks really good!

Eleanor Hoh said...

My sisters and I always try this soup as a barometer to see if a restaurant is any good. If they can make a hot and sour soup well, they're in. Again, fabulous job.

Dan said...

I found a new chinese grocery store and had my eye on this recipe. Made it tonight -- good stuff.

Kirsten said...

I like this version I will definitely have to try it. Chinese black vinegar? that sounds odd? is it like rice vinegar? I have never tried it, what would or could you compare it to?

Kevin said...

Kirsten: The Chinese black vinegar reminds me of a cross between a balsamic vinegar, though not as strong, and Worcestershire sauce.

5th on Webster said...

Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!! I made the soup following your instructions for family gatherings and it remains a fave of ours!

maegan said...

I'm planning to make some Asian short ribs this week. Do you think that shredded beef short ribs would work in this soup?

Kevin said...

maegan: Shredded beef short ribs should work well in this soup.

zuzazak said...

it's defo soup season. i'm making this tomorrow! and this is my cabbage, apple and ginger soup

http://cheesy-mash.blogspot.com/2012/01/cabbage-soup-with-apple-and-ginger.html

zx

$35 a Week said...

This looks sooo good—I love the addition of all the mushrooms.

Elsie Hui said...

Your hot and sour soup looks delicious! I will have to make my version soon! :)

Unknown said...

I found a recipe for hot and sour soup in a book from the public library. It said place a chicken in a pot and boil it all day, then throw away the chicken. I thought that was so funny. I wish I still had that recipe, it was the best I ever tasted.

Anonymous said...

This soupe was the BEST I ever tasted!well done! I made my own stock and added chicken instead of tofu. One word DIVINE! Everybody agreed!thanks!!

Anonymous said...

This recipe missed the boat by a long shot. I am a hot and sour soup fanatic, this is nothing like hot and sour. To all the rave reviewers, have you ever had this soup before at a restaurant? Sorry man, its just not good, period. It literally just tastes like vinigar and water. And yes, I made it by the recipe. I have been trying to replicate hot and sour for 6 years now, still can't make it like the 30-40 different types I have had at Chinese restaurants. Back to the drawing board.

Renee {Eat.Live.Blog} said...

Hot and sour soup is my ultimate comfort food. I can't wait to ty this!

Rachael {Simply Fresh Cooking} said...

Hot and sour soup is one of my all time fave's!! I've never even considered making it until now! I think when I do, my hubby will love me even more. :)

Mrs B said...

This is a great recipe! I know being Chinese and coming from a family of chefs. Adjust the solid ingredients to your tastes ... meaning we like lots of stuff and less soup. I would omit the black pepper and use white only, fresh bamboo shoots (canned if absolutely unavoidable). Shredding the lily buds does nothing but have them become a non-entity in the soup. For added texture and to bring out the unique taste of them - soak just till pliable and tie a knot in each one, adding them in towards the end of the cooking time. Seemed a bit anal and stupid to me till I tried it. The knot tying comes from Grace Young's recipe. Aged black vinegar is a must - adjust sourness to taste with wine or white vinegar @ the end.

Kevin said...

Mrs B: Thanks for the tips!

jessica said...

This looks absolutely delicious...it has been too long since I've had this soup. I used to get it at a Mandarin Chinese restaurant near my home town but it burnt down. It was the best hot and sour soup. I like Mrs Bs tips too, sounds good!

Amanda said...

Looks wonderful Kevin! Hope we run into each again this year in our travels, it was nice seeing you at BlogHer Food.

zavia said...

why cornstarch could not retains its consistency in soup while at room temperature??

Anonymous said...

All the reviews here are a variation on "looks good", "can't wait to try it", etc. Seems NOBODY'S actually made it, and I'll tell you why. It's VERY, VERY complicated, LOADED with sodium, and requires TONS of unusual ingredients that are not readily available to most shoppers. One person even commented "Where can I order black vinegar and also Lily Pad & mushrooms from? citing that they live on a Island in Alaska. Trust me, even if you DON'T live in a remote Alaskan island, these items ARE very hard to come by. Come on, Kevin...give us something we can use, Jesus Christ!

Kevin Lynch said...

Anonymous: This was meant to be an authentic version of hot and sour soup. I will however be publishing a more approachable version sometime soon.

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