Hot and Sour Soup. A delicious spicy sour egg flower soup with a variety of mushrooms, carrots, chili peppers, and soft tofu. One of the most popular Chinese dishes ready in 20 minutes!
What is Hot and Sour Soup?
Hot and Sour Soup is a delicious thick soup that is tangy, spicy, savory with earthy flavor! It's packed with silky eggs, various mushrooms, carrots, red chili. A beloved classic dish that originates from Northern China, that you can now find at any Chinese restaurant or at Chinese takeout.
A popular Chinese food that can be served as a main dish, side dish, or a fast lunch. Some Chinese recipes contain bamboo shoots, chicken breast or pork, and lily buds or lily flowers, however I wanted to share a simple cooking process accessible for all. I understand finding these obscure ingredients can be challenging and my version is fail proof.
Hot and Sour Soup is a great recipe to make on a cold winter or autumn day when the temperatures are cooler or anytime of the year really! In Chinese culture, we love to drink to soup as a part of our meal to prevent us from overeating. Thanks to the different flavors, this soup instantly has become one of my favorite dishes! It's tangy, savory, and spicy satisfying all your tastebuds at once. It's no wonder it has become such a beloved soup in Chinese cuisine.
You’ll need the below ingredient list for my hot sour soup recipe. Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: The Asian market will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your local grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Low Sodium Chicken Stock or chicken broth: you may substitute with vegetable broth or vegetable stock if you wish to make it a vegetarian version.
- Fresh shiitake mushrooms: or substitute with dried mushrooms rehydrated and submerged in hot boiling water for at least 5-7 minutes. You may also add or substitute with wood ear mushrooms (black fungus mushroom), enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms, ir cremini mushrooms,
- Seafood mushrooms: or substitute with enoki mushrooms or button mushrooms
- Soft Tofu: or substitute with medium tofu or firm tofu if you prefer that texture. It's important to cut the tofu into thin slices or thin strips so they can quickly cook in the soup.
- Carrots: to lend this good recipe a pop of color!
- Red chili: or omit if you prefer to make the soup base mild. If you don't have red chili, you can also substitute with 1 teaspoon of red chili oil, chili sauce, sriracha sauce, or hot sauce to add some heat.
- Green onion: to add some color to our hot soup.
- Eggs: the eggs will be beaten and poured into our soup to create silky egg ribbons
- White vinegar: or substitute with Chinese Chinkiang vinegar (Chinese Black Vinegar) if you have this authentic ingredient. You may also use rice vinegar as well. If you don't have any of these, balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar can work as a last resort. The essential ingredient will give the soup that sour taste. We'll need to add this in at the end or the tangy vinegar will boil off if you add it at the start.
- Regular soy sauce: aka all-purpose soy sauce. This is different from dark soy sauce as it's not as dark or thick in color. You may also substitute with low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce of your choice.
- Dark soy sauce: this is darker and thicker than regular soy sauce. This will add color to the egg drop soup.
- Sesame oil: a nutty oil that will give this dish a wonderful aroma!
- Chicken bouillon powder: to give our soup a depth! I wouldn't skip on this ingredient unless you'd like to make this a vegan soup.
- White granulated sugar: to balance all the salty and tangy flavors.
- Cornstarch: this will be mixed with cold water to help thicken our soup. You may also substitute with potato starch or tapioca starch.
- Cold water: do not use hot water or you'll have a hard time dissolving the cornstarch.
- Salt: season to your own taste
- Black or white pepper (optional): since we're adding red chili to make this soup spicy, the black or white pepper is optional. If you choose to add it, please season at the end or the white pepper can add a bitter taste to your soup.
How to Make Hot and Sour Soup
Create Cornstarch Slurry
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until well combined. This is your cornstarch slurry. Set aside.
In a medium size pot pour in chicken stock. Season stock with regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, chicken bouillon powder and sesame oil.
Cover and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
Once it reaches a boil, reduce to low-medium heat. Add in shiitake mushrooms, carrots, seafood mushrooms, red chili and boil uncovered for 2 minutes or until mushrooms have softened.
Lower in thin strips of soft tofu and gently stir.
Add Cornstarch Slurry
Stir in cornstarch slurry to slightly thicken the soup.
Pour in Beaten Eggs
Once thickened, while stirring the soup in a circular motion, pour beaten eggs in a thin stream. Give it another stir to form ribbons.
Garnish & Season with Vinegar
Add green onions. Finally season with white vinegar and salt to taste. Enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
This hot and sour soup will last up to 4 days stored in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, re-boil on the stove top or microwave for a few minutes covered until hot.
Can I season with white pepper or black pepper?
Yes, but the only thing is to make sure to season the hot and sour soup at the end. If you add white pepper at the start, it'll give the soup a bitter taste.
What is chicken bouillon powder?
It's a chicken stock powder that contains a lot of flavor and a bit of MSG. I highly recommend it for this hot and sour soup to give it depth.
Other recipes you may enjoy!
If you enjoyed this hot and sour soup recipe, check out my other soup recipes:
Quick & Easy Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
- 4 cups chicken stock low sodium
- ½ cup seafood mushrooms ends removed (or sub with button mushrooms)
- ½ cup soft tofu cut into ¼-inch thick strips (or sub with medium to firm tofu)
- ¼ cup carrot julienned
- 5 shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 1-2 tablespoon red chili sliced (optional)
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ tablespoon regular soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- ¼ teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
- ¼ cup water cold
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar add more if you like it more sour
- salt & white or black pepper season to taste if needed
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until well combined. This is your cornstarch slurry. Set aside.
- In a medium size pot pour in chicken stock. Season stock with regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, chicken bouillon powder and sesame oil. Mix well.
- Cover and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- Once it reaches a boil, reduce to low-medium heat. Add in shiitake mushrooms, carrots, seafood mushrooms, red chili pepper and simmer for 1-2 minutes, uncovered.
- Lower in thin strips of soft tofu and gently stir.
- Stir in cornstarch slurry to slightly thicken the soup. Simmer for 30-60 seconds.
- Once thickened, while stirring the soup in a circular motion, pour beaten eggs in a thin stream. Give it another stir to form ribbons.
- Add green onions. Finally season with white vinegar, salt and white or black pepper to taste. Enjoy!
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