Chinese Hot And Sour Soup is spicy, tangy, and packed with umami. This restaurant-style soup is made with mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots, and the thick broth is loaded with silky ribbons of egg.
I have a thing for Asian Inspired Soups. I always find them big on flavors. Hot and sour soup is one of the most loved soups in Chinese Restaurants because it’s downright delicious and super satisfying.
The broth is thick and filled with silky ribbons of egg. White vinegar gives a distinct sour taste and white pepper is for heat. Soft tofu, chewy shitake mushrooms, there are so many textures in a spoonful of it. This soup is quite wholesome with a good balance of protein and fiber.
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Ingredients you need
The list of ingredients might look intimidating and a few of them might not be available in a general grocery store. But a quick stop at your nearest Asian store and you are sorted.
- Shitake mushrooms – Shitake mushrooms are a flavor bomb. Dried ones are much more flavourful. Just rehydrate and cut into thin slices.
- Tofu – Takes care of protein requirements. Use Extra firm tofu, otherwise they will break into the soup.
- Bamboo shoots– An unusual ingredient for sure. You could easily get canned bamboo shoots in Asian stores or large supermarkets. Cut into thin matchsticks.
- Ginger and garlic – minced
- Sauces – Dark and light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce to give the soup a rich dark color.
- Eggs – Beaten eggs when stirred into the broth, create strands of silky ribbons, and also thicken the soup.
- Cornflour – Cornflour slurry is used to thicken the broth.
Add-ins / Variations
- Wood ear mushrooms are used in Hot and sour soup traditionally. You can use fresh or dried ones( rehydrate before using).
- Poached and shredded chicken breast to bulk up on protein.
- Cut carrot into match sticks and add for some crunch.
How to Make it
While the list of ingredients is overwhelming, the process couldn’t be simpler than this. No sauteing or long-simmering is required. Tip in all the ingredients then let it cook on low for 8-10 minutes and you are done.
- Start with rehydrating Dry Shitake Mushrooms. Add hot water to the dry mushrooms until they are completely covered. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes until soft. Use a large bowl, as the mushroom will almost double up. Then drain and cut into thin slices.
- Cut Tofu into cubes and bamboo shoot into thin match sticks.
- To give some smokiness, saute 2 dry red chilies in hot oil until dark brown. Discard the chilies, then add all the ingredients except egg and cornflour slurry.
- When the mix comes to a low boil, thicken the soup with cornflour slurry.
- To the thickened soup, slowly pour beaten eggs and keep stirring forming egg ribbons. After adding all the eggs, simmer for a minute more for the eggs to cook fully.
Is Hot and sour soup healthy?
A bowl of soup has protein, fiber (from mushroom and bamboo shoots), and very minimal fat. So this spicy tangy soup is not only delicious but also low in calories and healthy.
Hot and Sour Soup
- ½ tablespoon oil
- 2-3 dry chill
- 6-7 cups stock
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 8 dry shiitake Mushrooms (ref note 1,2)
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup bamboo shoot
- 8 oz tofu
- ¼ cup Cornstarch mixed in 1/2 cup water
- 2 Eggs lightly beaten
- Begin with soaking dry Shittake Mushroom in hot water. Cover and let it rehydrate for at least 20-25 minutes. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms and slice them thin.
- Cut tofu into small bite-sized pieces. Cut bamboo shoots into long strips.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottom soup pot. Add two dry red chilies and saute for 30 seconds until they change color to dark brown and smell smokey. (ref note 3). Remove from the oil.
- Carefully add chicken stock ( it might splatter initially), light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper, and vinegar. Mix well and bring to a slow boil. Check the seasoning and adjust as per taste.
- Add sliced mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots. simmer for 5 minutes.
- Make cornflour slurry by mixing cornflour and water. Slowly stir the slurry to the soup and mix continuously to avoid any lump. Simmer for the soup to thicken slightly.
- Lower the heat. Beat eggs really well. While slowly stirring the soup, add beaten eggs gradually. It will form thin ribbons of egg that is silky and soft. Once all the eggs have been added to the soup, switch off the flame.
- Garnish it with fresh green onion while serving.
- Dry Shiitake mushrooms have an intense flavor compared to fresh ones. You can use about 1 cup of sliced fresh shiitake instead.
- Instead of using only Shiitake, you can use a blend of Shiitake, wood ear mushrooms, and baby bella mushrooms as well.
- If you prefer more heat, then add 1/4 teaspoon- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes instead of whole dry red chili. Keep a close watch while adding chilli flakes, because if the oil is too hot the flakes will burn instantly.