Tell me how to make hot and sour soup!

Anybody got any good hot and sour soup recipes? I tried to make it once years ago – a woman I worked with at the time who was from Malaysia shared her recipe and gave me some of her dried mushrooms, but it turned out terrible. It didn’t taste at all like the HSS I get at Chinese restaurants. But I’m feeling adventurous and want to give it another shot.

I have a good one. Well, I think it’s good, anyway! And it’s pretty easy, too.

Hot and Sour Soup

1 large egg white
1 large egg
2 TB cornstarch
2 TB reduced sodium soy sauce
2 TB sherry
1 tsp sugar
12 oz. fresh Shiitaki mushrooms, or any mixed, sliced – but Shiitakis are best!
8 oz. firm tofu, cut in small cubes
1 TB toasted sesame oil, or to taste
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
4-5 TB rice vinegar, to taste
1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 bunch spring onions, chopped and divided
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes or more, to taste

Combine egg and egg white and beat lightly. Set aside.

Mix together cornstarch, soy sauce, sherry and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Saute sliced mushrooms and tofu in toasted sesame oil in a 4-quart pot (or bigger).

Add chicken broth, rice vinegar and bamboo shoots. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Return soup to a boil. SLOWLY drizzle the egg mixture into the soup while stirring in a circular motion. Simmer one minute. Add green onions, hot pepper flakes and bean sprouts, then blend in cornstarch/soy sauce mixture. Stir until soup is slightly thickened. Serve with some additional sliced green onions on top.

Note: You can adjust this recipe to suit your own tastes. Steer with amounts of sugar, hot pepper flakes, rice vinegar and sesame oil until you get it how you like it.

If you try it, you’ll have to let me know how it comes out for you.

ETA: I often add slivers of leftover pork, beef or chicken to this, too.

Thanks Aspenglow, I will give this a try and let you know how it turns out. I may try vegetable broth instead of chicken, so the vegans in the family can have some. Hopefully that doesn’t mess it up too much.

Are the vegans in your family going to be OK with the eggs?

Just today. I noticed this on the WaPo Voraciously blog - Takeout-Style Hot-and-Sour Soup

The headline on that blog post is “This hot-and-sour soup recipe is a cure-all for cold (and have-a-cold) days”. As it happens, when I feel a cold coming on, I go to my local Chinese restaurant and order this soup for take-out. It really seems to help.

A cartoon from decades ago. The scene is the back door of a Chinese restaurant. A Chinese guy is holding a bowl in front of a drunken derelict’s mouth. He tells the other Chinese guy, who is standing in the doorway, ‘You tell imperialist round-eye faggot* he just have to wait for his hot-and-sour soup!’

*Caption’s word, not mine.


As noted here in this 2006 thread of recipes:

hot sour

I use this version, and I love it. It’s easy to make, but you have to source your ingredient. Dried shittakes (not fresh), dried wood ear mushrooms (also sold as “black fungus” at Asian marts), and dried lily flowers (I found that at the Chinese market, but you can skip that if you wish.) Heat comes from white pepper, not red pepper. Sour comes from Chinese black vinegar (this I can find at my local grocery.)

Once you have the ingredients, it’s easy to make up. The shiitakes, wood ear mushrooms, and lily flowers last forever. Make sure to add the vinegar and white pepper at the very end before serving, not earlier. This makes a big difference to the flavor.

By far, my favorite hot & sour recipe and easy if you can get your hands on all those ingredients.

Most welcome, Shoeless. It’s a good basic recipe that can be tweaked to personal tastes. I doubt it will suffer much from using vegetable broth instead of chicken. but I agree with Dewey Finn, the vegans may not appreciate eggs. :slight_smile:

I love this soup for the very same reason. I crave it when I start feeling sick. But I also crave it when I’m perfectly well!

I’m going to try substituting a few of the alternate ingredients mentioned in this thread in my own version. I’ll bet the hot chili oil will be better than just hot pepper flakes, and next time I’m at our well-stocked Asian market, will look for smoked sesame oil. It’s also the place to pick up specialty mushrooms, since varieties like cloud ear and even shiitake can be difficult to source where I am. I prefer fresh mushrooms to the dried, but will use dried if that’s all that’s available.

Oh man, wintertime and hot and sour soup — gotta love it!

Aspenglow, thank you, I’ll have to give that a try! Looking forward to other good recipes here.

I should add, substitutions are listed above and the dried shiitakes, wood ears, and lily flowers are listed as optional, but, to me, that gives the soup the right flavor that I get from the restaurants here in Chinatown.

Oh, and here’s a video recipe for hot & sour. This channel is awesome for replicating Chinese dishes. That video recipe will not steer you wrong.

And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of Chinese cooking, there’s the Chinese Cooking Demystified channel. The one I linked you to is a little bit more accessible to a mainstream audience, and Chinese Cooking Demystified is, while still accessible, a bit more food geek centered in its approach, for those who are interested about the history of the food and Chinese cooking techniques. (If you want to compare, here is their video on hot & sour soup.) The Souped Up Recipes channel is more for the casual, but somewhat experienced, cook who wants to replicate Chinese and Chinese-American dishes.

** Aspenglow** the soup turned out great! Not quite the same as what I’m used to from Chinese restaurants (possibly because of the vegetable broth and lack of meat) but nevertheless it was delicious. My stepdaughter and granddaughter (the vegans) both really enjoyed it. (And to answer the question above, they were not bothered by the egg. They are not as strict as they used to be. They’re not going to go to IHOP and order an omelette, but they’re ok with a small amount of egg cooked into stuff.)

None of the other recipes had been posted yet by the time I went to the grocery store yesterday, but I will have to check those out and give them a try sometime soon. Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Shoeless, I’m glad it was a good starting point for you! When I make it, my taste prefers more soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. I also like to bring the heat. Have fun experimenting, and I’m pleased your family enjoyed it! :slight_smile:

I don’t know if it’s available in your area, but I use a Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup spice paste from a company called Asian Home Gourmet. Just add water or stock, whatever meat and/or veg you want, and an egg. There’s nothing in the ingredients list that would make it non-vegan. They also do pastes for Tom Yam and other soups.