Hot and Sour Soup

I always order hot and sour soup in restaurant eventhough I know it is so easy to make. Last time I had it in China Town the soup was loaded with chilli it was so hot it was nearly inedible. This soup is one of those comfort food that hit all the right spots, hot, sour, savoury and slip down really well.

It is common to find blood jelly and pork rind in this soup. If you have this soup in the restaurant and saw some brown tofu like lumps, that's boiled blood. Luxury version contains soaked sea cucumber, fish maw or dried scallop shreds. The version has no blood jelly, sea cucumber, pork rind, fish maw or dried scallop.

Chinese : 酸辣湯

This recipe is enough for 3 - 4 large bowls.

few pieces of woodears
few dried shitake mushrooms
1 square chinese tofu, about 150 – 200g (cut into dices)
3 – 4 tbsp bamboo shoots (cut into thin strips)
or schechuan preserved vegetable
榨菜 (Zha cai)
100 -150 g pork or chicken (minced or cut into matchstick strips) *
100 -150 g roughly chopped raw prawn, if not defrosted frozen cocktail prawns will do
2 pint of chicken or pork stock, homemade or stock cube*
2 small or 1 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp soy sauce (less if stock is seasoned or if using zha cai)
dash of dark soy sauce (for colouring)
1 tsp sugar
pinch of ground pepper (roasted ground Szechuan peppercorns or white pepper)
2 – 4 tbsp black rice vinegar (much as you like, other vinegar just don’t have the authentic flavour)
2 – 5 tsp of chilli oil (much as you like) or you can use 2 – 3 tsp fresh minced red chilli
dash of sesame oil
2 - 3 tbsp cornflour mixed with dash of water (thickness of soup depends of individual taste)
Extra chopped chillies if preferred
1 - 2 stalks of finely chopped spring onion.


Soak woodears and shitake with warm water till softened, cleaned and cut into matchstick strips. You need around 3/4 - 1 cup in total

Add some of the stock to the mince pork/chicken to loosen it.

Heat remaining stock till boiling, add mince, woodears and zha cai (if using), heat for few minutes till boiling. Add tofu. Add seasonings, i.e. enough vinegar, chilli oil, sugar, soy sauce, dark soy and ground pepper. Taste and add more seasonings if required. Add bamboo shoots and prawns and boil for a minute, stir in beaten egg forming thin ribbons. Add enough slackened cornflour to thicken. Stir in few drops of sesame oil.

Pour into soup bowls. Sprinkle with few more drops of chilli oil or sesame oil, more ground pepper, chopped chillies and spring onions.

*For a vegetarian version, use vegetarian stock and replace meat with button mushrooms. Leave the egg if you are vegan.


  1. I love hot & sour soup - we used to be able to buy them in foil pouches in Hong Kong and you just drop them in simmering water, great fast food. This looks great, I'll definitely be trying it out.


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