Authentic Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤)

4.91 from 51 votes
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Chinese restaurant-style hot and sour soup made easy! The hearty, spicy, sour broth is loaded with mushrooms, silky eggs, and tofu. I’ve included lots of notes so you can tweak the recipe with the ingredients you have on hand, plus how to make this dish vegetarian. {Vegetarian adaptable}

Restaurant style hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup is such a popular dish takeout dish, along with egg drop soup and wonton soup. It’s one of those things that we almost always order when eating in a restaurant. The soup is loaded with so many goodies that I totally wouldn’t mind serving it as a main dish for a light dinner.

Homemade hot and sour soup in bowls

The soup base

Did you know that hot and sour soup is actually super easy to make?

Yes, the recipe below might look a bit long, because I wanted to create a proper restaurant-style hot and sour soup for you. But in fact, the soup base requires only a few ingredients:

  • Chinkiang vinegar
  • White pepper powder
  • Water mixed with cornstarch (to thicken the soup)

That’s it!

The sourness of the soup comes from the Chinkiang vinegar. And the spiciness comes from the white pepper powder. No peppers or chili oil required!

Hot and sour soup ingredients

A word about the dried ingredients

My recipe uses some dried ingredients that might require a trip to an Asian market or a purchase on Amazon. But if you don’t want to make the extra effort, you can totally skip these ingredients. I will explain why.

I previously discussed how to use Chinese dried veggies to create a superior flavor in another recipe – Buddha’s Delight, a Jai (Buddhist vegetarian) dish. The logic is the same here. The foundation of the broth consists of dried lily flowers and dried shiitake mushrooms. They both have a very concentrated smoky, earthy, and woody aroma. Once you rehydrate them, the rehydrating water will turn a dark brown color as it becomes infused with the great flavor. Do not throw this water away. It is the best vegan broth and you should use it to make the soup base.

The other dry ingredient is wood ear mushrooms. It is a mildly flavored fungus that adds a crunchy texture to the dish.

Hot and sour soup dried ingredients - shiitake mushrooms, lily flowers, wood ear mushroom

Chinese families always have these ingredients on hand because they allow a cheaper and healthier way to create a flavorful broth. If you use these ingredients, your soup will turn out more like the Chinese restaurant version.

However, if you do not have these ingredients, simply skip them and use chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water to make your soup.

Hot and sour soup ingredients

Cooking notes

1. How to convert this recipe to vegetarian

Simply skip the “marinate” part of the recipe, including the pork and the few ingredients for the marinade. Many Chinese recipes use a small amount of meat to add volume and texture to the dish. Skipping the meat won’t affect the flavor of the soup.

2. Other vegetables and proteins to use in this recipe

There are so many more ingredients that work well in this dish.

For example, some of my favorite vegetables include – tomatoes, napa cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and bok choy.

You can also use a different type of protein to replace the pork. For example, chicken or shrimp would work great. You can even throw in a few slices of cooked sausage or ham to make the cooking faster.

3. Workflow

Add vinegar and white pepper at the end of cooking – this is very important. Otherwise the pureness of the vinegar will disappear as the vinegar evaporates and the white pepper will release a bitter taste if heated for too long.

Easy hot and sour soup

More Chinese takeout recipes

Authentic hot and sour soup

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤) - Authentic Chinese restaurant-style hot and sour soup made easy. The hearty broth is loaded with veggies and is so satisfying and healthy. The recipe includes notes on how to tweak the soup into a vegetarian one and to use whatever veggies you have on hand. #takeout #recipes #traditional

Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤)

4.91 from 51 votes
Chinese restaurant-style hot and sour soup made easy! The hearty, spicy, sour broth is loaded with mushrooms, silky eggs, and tofu. I’ve included lots of notes so you can tweak the recipe with the ingredients you have on hand, plus how to make this dish vegetarian. {Vegetarian adaptable}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

(Optional) Rehydrate (*Footnote 1)

Optional Marinate (*Footnote 2)

  • 1/2 lbs (230 g) pork loin (or chicken breast) cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Soup

  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder (or 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder for a less spicy dish)
  • 6 cups water or chicken stock (*Footnote 3)
  • 1/2 block (8 oz / 227 g) firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions

  • Gently rinse dried shiitake mushrooms, dried wood ear mushrooms, and lily flowers with tap water. Soak each of them with 1.5 to 2 cups warm water in three big bowls. Rehydrate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until tender. Slice mushrooms into strips. Snip off the tough ends of lily flowers and discard. Remove tough ends of wood ear mushrooms, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Reserve the marinating water from lily flower and shiitake mushrooms, 2 cups in total
  • Combine pork, Shaoxing wine, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well by hand. Marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Add Chinkiang vinegar and white pepper into a small bowl. Mix well until the white pepper is completely dissolved.
  • Add water or chicken stock, ginger, and green onion into a pot and heat over medium-high heat. If you reserved the marinating liquid from step one, you can add it plus 4 cups water or chicken stock.
  • Add rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, lily flowers, and tofu to the pot. Cook until bringing to a simmer. Add soy sauce and turn to medium-low heat.
  • Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in a bowl until cornstarch is fully dissolved. Slowly swirl the cornstarch slurry into the soup. Stir to thicken the soup.
  • Add the pork from step one into the soup, stirring several times to prevent the pork strips from sticking together. Add the salt. Slowly swirl in the beaten egg and stir well. The egg should be scattered and not clotted.
  • Remove the pot from stove. Add the vinegar and pepper mixture and stir to mix well.
  • Garnish with cilantro and drizzle with sesame oil. Give it a final stir. Taste the soup and add more salt if needed.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

  1. If you do not have these dry ingredients, you can use half a pound of fresh mushrooms instead. Then use chicken stock instead of water to make the soup.
  2. Skip the meat if you want to create a vegetarian dish.
  3. Use chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water if you are not using the dry ingredients (shiitake mushrooms, lily flowers, and wood ear mushrooms) in this recipe.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 9.1g, Protein: 19.9g, Fat: 11.1g, Saturated Fat: 3.3g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 883mg, Potassium: 473mg, Fiber: 1.3g, Sugar: 1.6g, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 3.6mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

The recipe was originally published on April 9, 2014 and updated on June 5, 2018.

Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤) - Authentic Chinese restaurant-style hot and sour soup made easy. The hearty broth is loaded with veggies and is so satisfying and healthy. The recipe includes notes on how to tweak the soup into a vegetarian one and to use whatever veggies you have on hand. #takeout #recipes #traditional

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Gintare @Gourmantine says:

    5 stars
    I love this soup and I know a few people who’d be smitten if I made it for them!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Gintare, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you enjoy this dish. 🙂

  2. Judit & Corina @Wine Dine says:

    5 stars
    This soup sounds very comforting and delicious Maggie! Every time we visit a Chinese restaurant we order a sweet- sour soup and can’t wait to try it at home soon.Lovely photos and video 🙂
    J+C

    • Maggie says:

      Yep, it’s definitely a comfort food for me, and I made it very often because it’s so easy to cook. Happy cooking! 🙂

  3. Thomas says:

    5 stars
    I just cooked a pot of this, and it is delicious! I am impressed that such a rich soup can be made so easily without any pre-made broth. Thanks for sharing the secret.

    • Maggie says:

      I’m so glad you like the soup and thank you for using my recipe! Yes, it’s a very rich soup without using broth. I cooked this a lot for dinner, since it requires so few ingredients. 🙂

  4. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says:

    5 stars
    My fiance loves hot and sour soup– I am going to have to try to make this for him! I have to say– your version looks way better than the stuff he orders when we’re out for Chinese 🙂

  5. Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy says:

    This soup would be amazing right now because it’s so cold in DC! I love that you included a video – it’s so good!

  6. Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction says:

    My hubby loves this soup. He will flip when I make it for him. Pinned.
    Annamaria

    • Abby says:

      Hello Maggie! Where do you purchase your woodear mushrooms? Thank you!

      • Vivian says:

        They’re also called black fungus.

  7. Kash says:

    You should try some white hot and sour soup with hot oil. Do you not know that the adding of soy sauce is relatively new to this very old soup. By far the white soup is hands down the best I have ever had!

    • Jim says:

      Kash
      Do you have a recipe for the White Hot and Sour soup to share or is it just omitting the soy sauce that makes it white/light?

      Maggie
      Thanks for a great recipe. Made it many times and it’s always delicious

  8. ColinR says:

    5 stars
    This was spot on. It was interesting to see how you can make a satisfying stock without much meat or stock cubes.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Colin, I’m glad to see you like this recipe! Back in Beijing, my mom served soup almost everyday and most of the time she didn’t use a stock. The hot and sour soup is definitely one of our favorites. The other soup without using stock: soak some dried shrimps and dried scallops for 30 minutes, and use them to make a seafood clean broth. We usually add some napa cabbage (or other greens) with tofu. The soup was quite light, but flavorful.

      • ColinR says:

        Thanks Maggie; next time I go to the Chinese supermarket, I’ll look out for the dried shrimps and scallops, and I’ll look forwards to trying them. I’ll also need another bag of shiitake; I have chicken stock in the freezer, but it is quite precious stuff and I can’t use it every time.

      • Maggie says:

        I’m glad to help! The homemade chicken stock is precious in our house too. I’ve been trying a new thing lately, by using a bit pancetta (might able to be replaced with bacon) to make a pork soup. I will share the recipe soon. By the way, have you ever tried miso soup? It’s not Chinese food, but we love it. So simple to make and does not require using a stock.

      • ColinR says:

        “Miso”, that can go on the list too!

      • Maggie says:

        Definitely! It’s so easy to use, stay in fridge forever, and go well with any veggies and protein!

      • Pamela says:

        5 stars
        Hi, I love Hot and Sour Soup and I will try this. You’re clear information on how to make a flavorful broth with those dry ingredients is so true. Those ingredients make a wonderful broth.

        I am in Japan and I can add a note to the MISO SOUP question, here in Japan they would use a quickly made broth made from kelp and or bonito flakes. Making Miso Soup with just hot water is unheard of. Also, instant/powdered kelp/bonito is available too, making soup making easier.

  9. Jasmine Rice says:

    Hi Maggie. From the website Pantry section I learned about different types of rice vinegar. For the hot and sour soup, which type of rice vinegar you prefer? I noticed that you used a black vinegar but was it the Chinkiang or the Shanxi Extra Aged vinegar? Thanks Maggie. Your website is such a great resource for my Chinese cooking . Thank you!

  10. Eva says:

    My husband and I loved the soup. I saw 1 teaspoon white pepper in the ingredients and I thought that was an awful lot. I put in 1/2 teaspoon and it was right at the edge of being too hot for us. Had I put in the whole teaspoon we would have had to call the fire department LOL.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Eva, I’m glad to hear your soup turned out not too spicy. My family loves very spicy food and we might have added too much white spice powder!

  11. Melora Rouse says:

    This may seem obvious, but I am a novice cook. I am supplying for soup for my son’s teachers and your recipe was the one that I signed up to bring. Is it okay to leave this soup in the crockpot on warm so the teachers will have it warm for their lunch?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Melora, yes you can keep the soup in crockpot. The cornstarch slurry will start losing thickening power if you keep the soup heated for too long time. But I think it should be OK as long as you make the soup the same day you serve it.
      Happy cooking and I hope the teachers will enjoy the dish!

  12. Stella Luna says:

    Hi very nice recipe but I have a question if I didn’t want to use wine can I substitute it with vinegar?
    Thank you

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Stella, you can replace the wine with water, broth, or oil. Or skip the salt and use 1 teaspoon soy sauce instead.
      Shaoxing wine is usually in China to eliminate the gamey flavor from the pork. But I found the meat in the US is less gamey, so it’s OK to skip the wine.
      Happy cooking and hope your soup turns out great 🙂

  13. Doris says:

    5 stars
    Thank you! I made this soup today and it was excellent. I’ll definitely make it again!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Doris, thanks so much for taking time and leaving a comment! I’m so glad to hear you tried my recipe and enjoyed the dish 🙂
      Hope you have a great day!

  14. Cathryn says:

    I really love your hot and sour soup

  15. Cathryn says:

    I really love your hot and sour soup but am scared to make it

  16. Kristen says:

    IS it possible to make this vegetarian?

    • Katie says:

      She mentions in her recipe that to make it vegetarian, just omit the meat. And she says elsewhere that the meat is just to add texture (and nutrition, which is debatable), but there are plenty of other elements that add texture, so I think you should definitely go for it!

  17. Jess says:

    Hi! This recipe looks great and am looking forward to trying it. I just need to know what rice vinegar did you use. The one I found at my local store was white but I noticed you use black. Would it still work the same?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jess, I used Chinkiang vinegar, which is also called Chinese black vinegar. I highly recommend using this type because the flavor is very different from the light rice vinegar. You can find the vinegar on Amazon or on The Mala Market.

      • Sandy says:

        Glad I read the other questions before I asked the same question. Love my Black Vinegar, just a little bit adds what had been missing from my Chinese dishes. I have a great Asian Market down the street and have always found any ingredient your recipes called for.

  18. Clinton says:

    Hi Maggie
    Really looking forward to trying this.
    Is white pepper powder different from what we just call white pepper?
    Cheers
    Clinton

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Clinton, I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing. I mention powder because sometimes people do buy the whole white peppers.
      Happy cooking and hope your soup turns out great 🙂

      • Clinton says:

        The soup tasted fantastic! Thanks. It’s particularly impressive because the recipe is so simple. I’ve shared it with a couple of my vegetarian friends too.

  19. Fred Rickson says:

    Don’t substitute for the Chinkiang vinegar or white pepper. And, rather than cornstarch, I add a handful of broken, dried noodles. You get the starch thickener, and a bit of complexity.

  20. h says:

    hi maggie great recipe. one question – if using the soaking water for the dried shiitakes and lilies, how much water do you add. still 6 cups?

    • Maggie says:

      Yes, still 6 cups. You probably don’t have enough soaking water, so just add all the soaking water you can then use regular water for the rest.
      Happy cooking and hope your soup turns out great!

  21. Jan says:

    5 stars
    I have made this twice. It is fabulous. I do TRY to follow the directions explicitbly. I went to out local Asian market and a nice lady helped me get the mushrooms. The first time I didn’t chop mushroom.. just through them in pot. What started to be the size of a baby rose hydrated to a Hydrangea.size…. I’ll never do that again. Anyway the recipe is great. House smells good. It’s definitely here to stay.

  22. beryl says:

    5 stars
    thanks for the recipe! made it tonite!! super delish!!! tastes like restaurant. one question tho.. when do you add the ginger and green onion.. it doesnt say in the recipe.. or am i not seeing it???
    thank you again !! love your recipes~~!!!!

    • Maggie says:

      Oops, sorry I forgot including those ingredients in the direction. Thanks for letting me know and I just edited the recipe.
      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the dish 🙂

  23. Lea says:

    5 stars
    Hey Maggie, I’ve made this soup three times earlier this year. It was fantastic. As kids my sister and I loved the hot and sour soup from our favorite restaurant. We’ve since developed a gluten sensitivity and can no longer eat at that place. Your soup tasted 100% like our well-love childhood favorite and it brought us heaps of joy! thank you so much!!

    I was wondering, when you updated the recipe did you change any of the ingredients or methods or just the beautiful fotos? Thanks so much!

  24. Julie says:

    5 stars
    Hello Maggie,
    Well, I’ve been making your Authentic Hot and Sour soup for quite awhile. I love it and eat it often using the recipe I originally got from your website and loaded into my recipe app. I told my sister about it, so she went here to your website and started asking me questions that made no sense to me. Now I see that you have changed the recipe from the one you used to have.
    We’re both curious to know why and to know if you’ve completely removed the first recipe from your website.
    Let us know please!!!

  25. The Realist says:

    Nice site, good visuals and explanations!

  26. Chieko says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been making hot and sour soup for 42 years ever since I first had a really good bowl of it as a teenager! It’s never made the same way twice! It usually depends on what I have on hand though I always have lily buds, shiitake, and black fungus on hand. Come to think of it, I have lots of dry fungi lurking in my pantry! ;D With this last batch, I’d made a stock from bones leftover from beef roast. The broth screamed hot and sour soup! I had some leftover corn that became part of the ingredients list. I used leftover egg shreds (kinshi tamago) instead of stirring raw egg in. I also added a big glop of fermented black bean in sesame chili oil. My soup was thick enough corn starch was not needed. Being half-Japanese with a Chinese aunt and cousins through marriage, food was a lot of fun! Thanks so much for sharing!

  27. sage wilson says:

    5 stars
    Hi! I just made your recipe last night, and my husband of seven years ate five large servings. I think that’s the most of anything I’ve made for him ever. I was hoping you could recommend a brand of ng vinegar cause the one I got at 99 ranch market yesterday sucked. I just read your bio, and I’m in Austin, TX too. Thanks for the excellent recipe.

  28. Phil says:

    4 stars
    Hi Maggie, We (Shanghaiese wife and I) made this yesterday but omitted the pork and added six chopped jumbo (16-20) shrimp and about 4-5 oz of tilapia. It was not quite spicy enough for my taste so added a little hot chili in oil and came out excellent.

    Thanks for sharing that one. I have copied a few more of your recipes and will make them in due course. I’ll let you know how this old American can cook your Chinese dishes.

    PS I lived in Xi’an, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong over about 20 years

  29. Anil Shrivastava says:

    Can you use the soaking liquid for the mushrooms and wood ear, etc. ? I don’t see that as recommended in your recipe.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Anil, yes, you can use the soaking liquid from the mushrooms. I usually don’t use the wood ear soaking water because it contains next to none taste.

  30. Caren says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe!!! Thank you so much for sharing. My parents have a neighbor from Taiwan who makes hot and sour soup that’s amazing and this is as close as it gets.

  31. Yoong says:

    5 stars
    Your recipes are so authentic and easy to follow. Now my family think the mapo tofu and hot and sour soup surpassed even the most expensive restaurants.
    Keep up the good work!

  32. Christina says:

    5 stars
    Maggie, I love Hot and Sour Soup and authentic Asian food so much that I am started to doubt my alleged 100% Italian heritage. With the hot and sour soup I NEEDED to find a recipe instead of ordering it takeout once or twice a week. I’m still trying to perfect your recipe and tonight is my third try. My first try, I didn’t realize that the dehydrated mushrooms and tofu “blew up” so much, but the taste was really great (I am fortunate to have a large Asian supermarket near my workplace). The second time, I rushed the process and it was not so good but that was my bad for rushing.. Tonight, I took my time, sliced the dried mushrooms and pulled the hard stem of the dried lily flowers before I rehydrated them and also made sure to slice the tofu into tiny slices. So far, it is going good, but I’m wondering what I can use to add a very slight sweetness to it. Thank you.

  33. Gaia says:

    4 stars
    Just made my 3rd pot of this and love it! Thanks so much, this recipe is a keeper. By now I have my alterations nailed.
    Most importantly is freshness of pepper to get the kick. First time bought pre-ground, just didn’t get hot. From then on ground my own in coffee grinder, bam! Second, bit more vinegar, but more soy. I am doing vego way, adding some fresh oyster mushrooms and a handful of greens as well is divine. Many thanks

  34. Nicole says:

    I love this recipe! The only thing that would make easier to make is to have dehydrated ingredients amounts in grams. I found it difficult to measure those ingredients .

    • Jim L. says:

      I haven’t made it yet because I’ve got everything but the Chinkiang vinegar (should arrive tomorrow). But I agree, after getting the dehydrated ingredients and seeing what they look like, I think it is going to be a little difficult measuring them. Weight in grams would be very helpful!

  35. David says:

    Your recipe doesn’t state how much soup stock to start with. I ended up using 2 quarts, adjusted amounts, we’ll see.

  36. Samuel Eisenberg says:

    So the water that you use to soak the mushrooms in is used as the broth?

    • Maggie says:

      Yes I did. It adds an intense earthy flavor to the broth. If you don’t like the mushroom taste to be too strong, you can skip the marinade water and use some veggie stock instead 🙂

  37. stan chapman says:

    Are the pork strips cooked in advance, or added raw?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Stan, these pork trips are added raw. They cook so fast (if you cut them very thin) and you want to just cook them through so they stay tender.

  38. Alice says:

    Does this soup freeze well?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Alice, this soup tastes the best when you serve it fresh. The cornstarch will lose its potent if you freeze or fridge it. So if you did so, you need to reheat the soup in a pot and add more cornstarch slurry at the end so it reaches the same consistency.

      • ALICE says:

        5 stars
        Got it! Thank you, Maggie!!
        I made this recipe a few nights ago and it was delicious!!!

  39. Victor says:

    5 stars
    Really nice authentic soup! Thank you

  40. Maggie says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is sooooo good!!!! I usually don’t have high hopes when I try Asian recipes simply because I don’t live near an Asian market, and thus I have to substitute or go without a number of key ingredients. That being the case, this recipe was top notch! I didn’t have the dried mushrooms or lily flowers or the wine, but it is still excellent. I am already planning the next night that I will make this.

  41. sandra hochberg says:

    My husband cannot eat tofu for medical reasons. What can I use as a substitute in hot and sour soup. Thanks

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sandra, you could simply skip the tofu and the soup will be just as tasty!

  42. Lin self says:

    5 stars
    Always wonder how to cook this soup. All westerners love it but being Chinese I prefer something lighter. Anyway I cook for dinner parties with resounding success. Thanks Maggie very much.

  43. Leah says:

    5 stars
    Made a vegetarian version. I had no lilies but I used turkey tail broth, shiitake powder, fresh wood ear., and subbed wild garlic scape for the green onions. Delicious, complex, and satisfying thanks for a better-but-easy recipe.

  44. Ellen Peterson says:

    5 stars
    Delicious and easy to prepare.

  45. Mavrick says:

    Could you help me understand footnote 1? If you use dry mushrooms, do you use the rehydrating water as the base of the soup? If not and you use regular water for the soup, do they add more flavor than fresh mushrooms? Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Personally I would use the rehydrating water (only the lily flowers and shiitake water. Woodear rehydrating water tastes like nothing) as the base of the soup, but it’s not a must because the rehydrated dried ingredients will keep releasing a lot of flavor into the soup when you cook them. And yes, they do add more flavor than fresh mushrooms (dried shiitake mushrooms are smoked and dried, so they have a pretty intense taste). I would use chicken broth instead of water if I use fresh mushrooms in this recipe.

  46. Wynne Dawson says:

    5 stars
    This recipe rocks!
    Do use the dried ingredients. I bought them online. Tried it with fresh mushrooms and fresh wood ear and it didn’t work. Also get the Chinese vinegar.

  47. gina witcher says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious! Thank you for the easy step by step instructions. The flavors are fabulous!

  48. Bianca says:

    I’ll have to try this as my fav spice paste mix is nowhere to be found in our grocery stores anymore! Also: I’ve used smoked tofu in this soup as a great way to add some more protein and flavor

  49. Cierra says:

    5 stars
    This is great- I never knew it would be so easy to make. The white pepper and the vinegar are 100% necessary, found the vinegar at my local Asian market. I didn’t have dried mushrooms so used store bought mushroom broth in combo with chicken broth. I used a lot more vinegar and white pepper than called for cause I like the flavor to be really intense. Thank you!

  50. Trish W says:

    5 stars
    Made this precisely by your recipe, also adding the bamboo & dried red peppers — it was excellent! This is far beyond anything we’ve eaten at any restaurant.

    All the hard work you put into sharing these recipes is greatly appreciated, thank you!

  51. Kenzie says:

    4 stars
    This is a great recipe! I ended up almost tripling the vinegar and white pepper although that may be just a personal taste for me. (I am also sick at the moment so my trusty nose isn’t at its best) My soup ended up with a starchy, milky color– did I stir in the cornstarch too slowly/quickly or perhaps when cooking the marinated chicken the starch from there added in..? not sure but overall loved this soup and I will definitely be making again!

  52. Jeff Marvin says:

    5 stars
    I found a wonderful Chinese grocery market near my home and now I am able to easily procur dried Wood Ear Mushrooms, dried Lily Flowers and Dried Black Fungus, as well as Chinkiang Vinegar for your wonderful recipe. Now I have authentic Hot and Sour Soup at home – wonderful. All of the local Chinese restaurants leave out the Wood Ear Mushrooms and Lily Flowers which leaves their soups a poor substitute for authentic Hot and Sour Soup. I have one question: No matter how carefully I pour the beaten egg into the soup it doesn’t form “egg flowers” or “ribbons”; instead, it just disintegrates into the soup leaving it slightly opaque – a most frustrating end to the recipe. Still wonderfully delicious, though. What am I doing wrong? Suggestion: I put the tofu in a glass casserole and place a flat pan weighted down with two large cans of tomato puree on top of the tofu for 15-20 minutes to squeeze out most of the moisture in the firm tofu. Then I slice the tofu into cubes and when I add the tofu to the soup it swells slightly and absorbs the wonderful flavor of the rich broth!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jeff, thanks for all the kind words and I’m so happy to hear you like the recipe!
      To answer your question about the eggs, I think there are two things you can try:
      1. Use a fork (or a pair of chopsticks) again the bowl when you pour the egg, so the beaten eggs will drop into the soup from several thin streams. It helps to form the “flower” in the soup.
      2. Add more egg whites into the egg mixture instead of using whole eggs. It will create better egg flowers without making the soup opaque. I rarely do this unless I have leftover egg white from other recipes, but you can try it out if you want a perfect result.
      And thanks for the tip on tofu! Sounds wonderful and I’ll definitely try it out the next time 🙂

  53. Joseph Rabor says:

    In the nutrition it states, “Serving: 4g.” Please correct, thank you in advance.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Joseph, sorry about this! It should be one of the servings. I’ve corrected the nutrition info.

  54. Patty Doak says:

    5 stars
    So very good! My husband kept saying ‘ this tastes like restaurant soup!

  55. Susan says:

    Howdy. I’m new to cooking but I love Hot and Sour Soup! Just the pictures alone are driving me mad. Could you please tell me how much Napa Cabbage and Bamboo Shoots to add to this recipe? Thank you.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Suan, I would use 2 cups chopped napa cabbage and 1/2 can bamboo shoot (1 can if you don’t plan to use the dry ingredients). Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out!

  56. julienne martone says:

    where/what is * footnote 3 that you mention?

    • Maggie says:

      “Use chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water if you are not using the dry ingredients (shiitake mushrooms, lily flowers, and wood ear mushrooms) in this recipe.”

  57. Richard Stanley says:

    5 stars
    I refer to this recipe constantly. Delicious. Easy. Thanks for unlocking the secrets of chinkiang vinegar. Game changer.

  58. The Lendog says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and tagged you on Instagram. I strayed from tradition and soaked my mushrooms and flowers in chili water… it was 4 out of 5 alarm (fire) but DELICIOUS. Following you on Instagram.

  59. Jay says:

    Do you cook the pork or chicken before adding to soup ?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jay, I don’t cook the pork (or chicken) before adding them to the soup. When you slice then very thin, they cook through in the hot soup very quickly. You want to keep them just cooked through, so the texture will be tender.

  60. Steve Bogart says:

    4 stars
    Maggi I had been taught hot and sour soup by the chef who introduced the soup to the US in the late 50’s. I at the time was working a Chef Chus restaurant in Los Altos CA.in 1994.The 85 year old chef spent his days a Chu’s just hanging around .Your recipe is spot on except he insisted on putting red and black vinagar and white pepper in the soup urn and pouring the hot soup over it.
    thank you for a great blog Steve Bogart retiered chef 40 years of cooking Classical Chinese dishes

    • Bill Zigrang says:

      Larry Chu – one of the best; I remember when his restaurant was just a hole in the wall, bu it (and his reputation) grew greatly.

  61. Emily says:

    I cannot wait to try this! I love that this is easy to convert to a gluten-free recipe. Cannot wait to try!

  62. Kem says:

    I made this soup tonight. Really pleased with the result. Definitely will be added to my favourite list.

  63. Jay H says:

    4 stars
    This is the best (and easiest) recipe I’ve found for Hot & Sour Soup. It smells right, but tastes mostly like the shiitake mushrooms. The only things I omitted were the green onions and the lily flowers, since my wife doesn’t like them. Any suggestions?

    • Maggie says:

      I would reduce the shiitake mushrooms (or skip it all together). If you’re not using the mushrooms and lily flower, I would def use chicken broth instead of water for the soup base.

  64. Herman says:

    5 stars
    Hi Maggie,
    My original comment was somehow eaten by my phone. So I will try again: the soup was very good but a bit too salty for us. The following additions fixed the problem and improved the overall taste:
    • added white vinegar and an equal amount of water
    • added more white pepper
    • added a pinch of granulated sugar
    • added about 3/4 cup of soft tofu
    • mix well, bring to a simmer, and serve
    Salt is present in Chinese cooking wine, black vinegar, and all versions of commercial broth, so adding salt should be done with care and tasting. By the way, fresh or canned bamboo shoots are also a tasty and crunchy addition.

  65. Greg says:

    5 stars
    Made this for the first time today. Was great. Excellent recipe easy to follow and make. Thank you.

  66. Megan says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is great! Easy and authentic– exactly what I was looking for. I personally prefer slicing the tofu in strips to approximately match the size and shape of the other ingredients but this was the only alteration I made.

  67. guyer semtine says:

    5 stars
    Very good.

  68. Joanne says:

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe, it was successful. The soup is tasty and yummy. Not bad for first trial. Instructions and notes are very helpful. I will certainly try other recipes. Thank you.

  69. Jamie Nguyen says:

    5 stars
    Just made this and WOW! Delicious recipe. Only change was a lot more pepper because I like it spicy. Thank you very much for sharing!

  70. RAVEENA says:

    5 stars
    great

  71. Erika Karilaid says:

    5 stars
    Just amazing!!! You’re a great teacher!

  72. Kiran Malhotra says:

    I have made this now a gazillion times it is such a great recipe
    Thank you

  73. Richard Lowe says:

    Excellent recipe. Just made it and it’s terrific. Thank you.

  74. Ellen Chew says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for the hot and sour soup recipe. I made this yesterday but omitted the meat and cornstarch and used less water, for the broth and it was still tasty. I used rice vinegar and thought it worked nicely. My family enjoyed this hot and sour soup on this cold winter night! Yum!

  75. Frank P Dunn says:

    Thank you so much Maggie. I am a retired professional chef you was once married into a Chinese American family. For years I enjoyed the cooking of my wife and her family. When my wife and I went our separate ways I missed Chinese home cooking. When I retired I began to teach myself Chinese dishes. You recipes and teaching skills are invaluable. Tonight I made your Hot and Sour Soup. I have made it often and everyone loves it. Your website is one of my top five cooking websites. Bless you.
    Humbly,

    Franco

  76. Mandy says:

    5 stars
    Amazing!!! Restaurant quality recipe. My husband and I loved it so much…looking forward making it again. Thanks for sharing!

  77. Vivian Sullivan says:

    5 stars
    This was the most delicious hot and sour soup I’ve tried. I need to work on my egg drizzling technique because mine just made the soup silky instead of ribbons. The pork made it so satisfying too. I did use the black vinegar but then added about the same amount of white vinegar as well, for more sour. One question. What do you do with the other half of the tofu. Does it freeze for later? Anyway my friend and I oohed and aahed the whole time we ate.

  78. Kaseeno says:

    5 stars
    This was so good, I”ll be making it again and agin! I couldn’t believe I was making something we thought we could only buy in an Asian restaurant. My husband was very impressed as well and said it was excellent. The steps were easy to follow. Thanks! :))

  79. Ellyana says:

    I love this recipe so much.. But can we substitute shaoxing wine and Chinkiang vinegar with another ingredients?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      For me the Chinkiang vinegar is quite important and I wouldn’t recommend changing it, but my husband actually has a recipe that doesn’t use both: https://gastroplant.com/vegan-hot-and-sour-soup/ The result is milder but I like it as well 🙂

  80. Richard Lowe says:

    5 stars
    Made it and loved it. Added bamboo shoots and tomato. No pork, shrimp instead. Thank you.

  81. Sara says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Made this for my boyfriend when he was feeling under the weather and it was so tasty and easy. Will definitely be making this recipe again!

  82. Judy Der says:

    I made it tonight! Fantastic ! My family said it was better than our fave Chinese restaurant version! I couldn’t find Woodear mushrooms and I sautéed fresh Shitake mushrooms. Excellent!

  83. Kathy Holley says:

    5 stars
    The soup was better than any I have gotten in a restaurant. Easy and delicious!

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