Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and sour soup is classically Chinese, but it is also a staple in American cuisine as it has found a special place in the hearts of Chinese food establishment frequenters all over the United States. This dish is traditionally meat based, but it can easily be made vegetarian by eliminating the meat aspects. Trade chicken broth for vegetable broth and leave out any of the regular pork. We decided on a vegetarian version for this recipe.

Jeff used two Thai chiles in this recipe, though you could use just one if you aren’t super into spiciness. We used two types of dried mushrooms and also one variety of canned mushrooms. When the dried mushrooms were rehydrated, the water they left behind was saved for later use, which is something you don’t have to do but can. It takes about 20 or so minutes to rehydrate mushrooms. When you are adding your eggs, you want to be sure to stir the soup plenty as you are drizzling the eggs in. You do not want to have big chunks of egg, you want to have more like egg tendrils or “strings of egg.”

Cornstarch is okay for this recipe if you have it laying around, but Jeff preferred the arrowroot powder because it is just a little better as a thickener. Plenty of things are easily replaced in this recipe, but whatever you do don’t replace the white pepper for anything. White pepper is crucial to having the right kind of hot in the hot and sour soup. Adjust the hotness or the sourness in any other way that you would please, as this is a dish that can be easily modified for individual taste preferences. Our taste testers enjoyed the spiciness of the soup, but we pretty much all like spicy food here.

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Prep Time: 30 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Category: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
  • ½ Cup Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • ½ Cup Dried Oyster Mushrooms
  • ½ Cup Dried or canned Straw, Tree Ear, or Wood Ear Mushrooms
  • ½ Cup Bamboo shoots, julienned
  • ½ Cup Water Chestnuts, julienned
  • ½ Lb. Extra firm tofu, julienned
  • ¾ Cup carrots, julienned
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
  • ½ Cup reserved mushroom water
  • 5 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Demerara Sugar
  • 5 oz. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Dried Thai Chiles
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • 8 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced fine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced fine
  • Scallions, to taste, sliced thin
  • Optional - 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Soak dried mushrooms in water for 20 minutes, reserve water
  2. While mushrooms are soaking, prepare all vegetables and other items.
  3. In a stockpot or a wok, bring the stock and Thai chiles to a boil. Add carrots, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, tofu, bamboo, and water chestnuts, bring back to a boil and then set to simmer.
  5. Add the soy sauce, spices, salt, sugar, and vinegar.
  6. Taste the soup and adjust the vinegar (sour), and salt as necessary.
  7. Take ½ Cup of the reserved mushroom water and mix it with the Arrow Root Powder to make a slurry. Slowly stir into soup to thicken. Soup should coat the back of a spoon.
  8. *Optional if you’re using egg - Drizzle beaten eggs slowly while stirring, so you get “strings” of eggs.
  9. Remove from heat, ladle into bowls and top with desired amount of scallions.

*It’s perfectly fine to use any type mushrooms you prefer, dried or fresh. Also, if you don’t care for spicy heat, you can leave the Thai Chiles out.