Hot & Sour Soup

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Hot & Sour Soup

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Adjust Servings:
1 cup Wood Ear Soaked in boiling water
1 cup Dried Lily Flower Soaked in boiling water
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2-inch piece Ginger Peeled and sliced into thin pieces
2 tablespoons Red Pepper Paste
1/2 can (8 ounces) Bamboo Shoots Sliced into thin strips
1/3 pound Pork Tenderloin Sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon White Pepper Powder
7 cups Chicken Broth
5 ounces Firm Tofu Drained and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
5 ounces Spiced Tofu Sliced into 1/4-inch strips
3 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup Cold Water
1 Egg Beaten
Scallions Minced

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    Much healthier version of your favorite Chinese Hot & Sour Soup

    • 2 hours 20 min
    • Serves 6
    • Medium


    • Soup

    • Garnish



    The name of the Hot & Sour Soup is attributable to its distinctive hot and sour taste, hot from the ground white pepper and sour from the rice vinegar. Growing up, this was one of my favorite dishes to order from my local Chinese takeout restaurant. However, as I started to appreciate healthier eating, I also began to order this soup less and less (for good reason). With that in mind, I was motivated to create a healthier version by making the chicken broth at home (which has no preservatives) and by not adding any unnecessary ingredients like MSG, for example. This gave birth to the recipe that follows, a Hot & Sour Soup as delicious as but way healthier than the one from your local takeout restaurant.



    Make the chicken broth

    It is suggested to use homemade chicken broth, which is healthier, but feel free to use store-bought chicken broth (in which case, skip to step 2).


    Soak the wood ear and dried lily flower

    Boil water in a small pot. Rinse the wood ear and dried lily flower and place into a bowl. Add the boiled water to the bowl(s) of wood ear and dried lily flower and soak for 2 hours. Remove wood ear and dried lily flower from water. Cut rough end of dried lily flowers and tough center of wood ears, then set aside. Tip: Drain any hard residue and the remaining vegetable broth can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months for future use!


    In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water, and set aside. After 2 hours when the chicken broth is ready and wood ear and lily flowers are soaked, start making the hot & sour soup. Add vegetable oil to large stockpot. Add wood ear, lily flower, ginger, red pepper paste, bamboo shoots and pork to pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and ground white pepper, stirring to mix for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, stirring to mix for 30 seconds.​


    Add firm tofu and spiced tofu to pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir soup for 10 seconds intensely to create a strong current in preparation for adding the cornstarch (so it doesn't clump). Add cornstarch mixture, stirring for 30 seconds and again creating a strong current in preparation for adding the egg (so it doesn't thicken). Add egg, stirring for 30 seconds to combine.


    Serve in bowl and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

    Rebecca Chan

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