Hot and Sour Soup

By: MeganPosted: 21/02/2024 Updated: 12/04/2024
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
This ultra comforting steaming bowl of hot and sour soup is filled with a variety of mushrooms, tofu, bamboo and egg ribbons. Enjoy this easy hot and sour soup recipe in under 30 minutes!
Hot and Sour Soup

It is love at first slurp with this hot and sour soup recipe. Each spoonful surprises you with a variety of textures from the velvety tofu, delicate umami strips of mushrooms, and crunchy bamboo to the wispy egg ribbons which are enveloped by a rich, savory, spicy, and sour broth.

A bowl of hot and sour soup with a spoon surrounded by table settings.

The best part about this adaptable Chinese soup is that you can enjoy it in under 30 minutes! The key to the best hot sour soup comes down to the combination of shiitake, wood ear, and oyster mushrooms for a rich umami punch.

Chinese hot and sour soup is so warm and comforting during the cold winter months. For more warm soup inspiration check out our egg drop soup, sup mang cua (Vietnamese crab and asparagus soup), and wonton soup.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

You will love this hot and sour soup recipe for several reasons:

  1. Comforting and heartwarming. A steaming bowl of hot and sour soup on a cold day is the most soothing dish that can warm you from the inside out.
  2. Versatile and customizable. You can customize your Chinese hot and sour soup by adjusting your level of spiciness, sourness, types of mushrooms, or protein!
  3. Easy to make! Once you prep all of the ingredients, you can easily complete cooking this hot & sour soup recipe in under 30 minutes.

Kitchen Equipment

You will only need the following kitchen equipment items for this hot and sour soup recipe.

  • Mixing Bowls: a variety of mixing bowls will be useful in measuring out your ingredients.
  • Measuring cup with spout: having a measuring cup with a spout will come in handy when slowly pouring the beaten egg yolk into the hot soup.
  • Medium pot: You will need a medium or large pot. I used a 5-quart pot to make this hot sour soup recipe.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for this hot & sour soup recipe at your local Asian grocery store. I’ve linked everything that I used for you below.

Soup Seasoning

  • Dried Red Chilis: dried red chili peppers are still very hot. To temper the heat, de-seed the peppers and limit the amount based on your heat tolerance.
  • Chicken Broth: chicken broth is the main base of the hot & sour soup.
  • Ginger: ginger is the main aromatic flavor that creates that warm, soothing feel in the broth.
  • White Pepper: white pepper is another “hot” element that adds a hint of heat. You can add more white pepper to taste.
  • Salt: salt seasons the broth. You may need to add more salt to taste.
  • Sugar: sugar balances out the savory, rich ingredients.
  • Light Soy Sauce: light soy sauce adds a lighter soy seasoning to the hot soup.
  • Dark Soy Sauce: dark soy sauce gives the soup its signature dark brown color while also adding a sweetened soy flavor.
  • White Vinegar: white vinegar is the “sour” element in the hot and sour soup recipe.
  • Sesame Oil: toasted sesame oil is drizzled at the end to add a nutty, umami flavor.
All the ingredients for hot and sour soup organized and labeled.

Vegetables

  • Shiitake Mushrooms: shiitake mushrooms add a savory, rich, and smoky flavor to the broth.
  • Wood Ear Mushrooms: wood ear mushrooms also add a mild, earthy flavor and a meaty texture.
  • King Oyster Mushrooms: King oyster mushrooms add earthy, nutty, woody, and deep umami, savory flavors.
  • Firm Tofu: for the tofu, use firm tofu to hold its shape in the hot soup, and make sure to properly drain with paper towels before slicing into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Bamboo Shoots: bamboo shoots add another element of crisp texture. You can either buy them canned sliced or julienned.
  • Eggs: beaten eggs add the thin egg wispy ribbons for more protein and flavor.
  • Green Onions: green onions for added garnish
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch is the thickening agent that gives the hot & sour soup a thicker consistency.
All the add ins for hot and sour soup organized and labeled in glass bowls.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize this hot sour soup recipe with the following suggestions for substitutions and additions below.

Substitutions

  • Broth: you can use any type of chicken, or vegetable broth as the base of the Chinese soup.
  • Black Chinkiang Vinegar: Chinese black vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar adds another layer of umami flavor, with a hint of sweetness. You can swap white vinegar out for this instead.
  • Dried Mushrooms: instead of fresh shiitake and wood ear mushrooms, you can alternatively use dried ones and soak them in hot water instead.
  • Potato starch: instead of cornstarch, you can use potato starch instead as a thickening agent. You may need to adjust the amount of the texture based on your preferences.

Additions

  • Chili peppers: if you like a very spicy soup, add more chopped chili peppers.
  • Chili oil: you can add a drizzle of chili oil for added heat and flavor.
  • Protein: for a more hearty hot sour soup recipe, add julienned pork, chicken or beef.
  • Vegetables: you can also add more vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach, bok choy or bean sprouts.
  • Wonton strips: for a crunchy textural element you can garnish your bowl of Chinese hot and sour soup with wonton strips.

How to Make Hot and Sour Soup

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this hot and sour soup recipe. I recommend prepping all of the ingredients first before you begin cooking.

  1. Cook the broth. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the deseeded minced chilis, chicken stock, ginger, white pepper, salt, sugar, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Mix to combine and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Seasoned broth cooking in a large stock pot.
  1. Add mushrooms, bamboo, and tofu. Next, add the sliced mushrooms, cubed tofu, and bamboo shoots. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, simmer for 5 minutes.
Vegetables added to a pot of seasoned broth.
  1. Add cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until combined. When the soup is at a boil, slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry until it reaches your desired thickness.
Add cornstarch slurry to a pot of soup to thicken it.
  1. Add egg ribbons. In a small measuring cup with a spout, beat the eggs with the water. Lower the heat to medium-low heat, it should be gently bubbling at a low simmer. Then very slowly pour the eggs while simultaneously mixing the soup to form the egg ribbons. This should take about 15-20 seconds. The slower you pour the eggs, the thinner the egg ribbons.
Pouring whisked eggs into a pot of soup to make egg ribbons.
  1. Add vinegar and sesame oil. Lastly, turn off the heat and add the white vinegar and sesame oil. Mix to combine and adjust the vinegar based on your sour preferences. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!
Adding vinegar to a pot of hot and sour soup.

Tips for the Best Hot & Sour Soup

  • Prepare the ingredients first. Measure out the seasoning, chop the mushrooms, beat the eggs, mix the cornstarch slurry, and have all of the ingredients prepared next to your cooking station before you begin cooking this hot and sour soup recipe.
  • Adjust the level of heat: you can adjust the level of heat by adding or subtracting the amount of chopped chili peppers and white pepper.
  • Adjust the level of sourness: you can adjust the level of sour tanginess by adding or subtracting the amount of white vinegar.
  • Slowly pour in the eggs. Make sure that the soup is at a gentle bubbling simmer and slowly pour in the eggs while stirring the soup to create the egg ribbons.
  • Mix in the sesame oil and vinegar at the end. The flavors in sesame oil and vinegar will lessen the longer it is cooked. For a stronger sour flavor, add the vinegar and sesame oil at the end.

Storage Instructions

You can store this Chinese hot and sour soup in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheat: reheat on the stove until it begins to boil.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

Is hot and sour soup spicy?

Yes, hot & sour soup is spicy due to the addition of chili peppers and white pepper. However, you can adjust the level of spiciness according to personal preference.

Is Chinese hot and sour soup healthy?

Yes! Hot and sour soup is made with chicken broth, mushrooms, tofu, ginger, and bamboo which are packed with essential nutrients.

Can I make hot and sour soup vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian or vegan hot and sour soup by using vegetable broth and swapping out the soy sauce for a vegan soy sauce instead.

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Recipe

A top down view of hot and sour soup with a spoon in it.

Hot and Sour Soup

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
This ultra comforting steaming bowl of hot and sour soup is filled with a variety of mushrooms, tofu, bamboo and egg ribbons. Enjoy this easy hot and sour soup recipe in under 30 minutes!
Servings: 6 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Broth

Soup

  • ½ cup (3 oz) shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (2 oz) wood ear mushrooms thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (2 oz) king oyster mushrooms thinly sliced
  • ½ block firm tofu drained and cubed
  • 1 cup (4 oz) bamboo shoots julienned
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ½ tablespoon water
  • 2 green onions chopped

Cornstarch slurry

Instructions

  • Cook the broth. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the deseeded minced chilis, chicken stock, ginger, white pepper, salt, sugar, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Mix to combine and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add mushrooms, bamboo, and tofu. Next, add the sliced mushrooms, cubed tofu, and bamboo shoots. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until combined. When the soup is at a boil, slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry until it reaches your desired thickness.
  • Add egg ribbons. In a small measuring cup with a spout, beat the eggs with the water. Lower the heat to medium-low heat, it should be gently bubbling at a low simmer. Then very slowly pour the eggs while simultaneously mixing the soup to form the egg ribbons. This should take about 15-20 seconds. The slower you pour the eggs, the thinner the egg ribbons.
  • Add vinegar and sesame oil. Lastly, turn off the heat and add the white vinegar and sesame oil. Mix to combine and adjust the vinegar based on your sour preferences. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Prepare the ingredients first. Measure out the seasoning, chop the mushrooms, beat the eggs, mix the cornstarch slurry and have all of the ingredients prepared next to your cooking station before you begin cooking this hot and sour soup recipe.
  • Adjust the level of heat: you can adjust the level of heat by adding or subtracting the amount of chopped chili peppers and white pepper.
  • Adjust the level of sourness: you can adjust the level of sour tanginess by adding or subtracting the amount of white vinegar.
  • Slowly pour in the eggs. Make sure that the soup is at a gentle bubbling simmer and slowly pour in the eggs while stirring the soup to create the egg ribbons.
  • Mix in the sesame oil and vinegar at the end. The flavors in sesame oil and vinegar will lessen the longer it is cooked. For a stronger sour flavor, add the vinegar and sesame oil at the end.
  • Storage Instructions: You can store this Chinese hot and sour soup in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Nutrition:

Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 1982mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 161IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg

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