Hot & Sour Soup

This is without a doubt my all time favorite soup creation. I based it on the Hot & Sour Soup that one of our local restaurants (Tsing Tao) used to serve years ago. I would go there and order the soup, then come home and try and recreate it. After several visits, and much tweaking, I came up with a recipe that I really liked.


Hot & Sour Soup (click on image to enlarge)

This soup has more vegetables than most restaurant versions, and also has both pork and tofu. If you like, you can skip either the meat or tofu if serving as an appetizer, or use both like we do and make the soup the main course. Don’t be put off by the fairly long list of ingredients. Most are ready available in supermarkets. If you can’t find the wood ears, the soup will still be great without them.

Hot & Sour Soup Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
A Happy Acres Original

8 wonton wrappers (for garnish)
1 tbsp canola oil
6 oz pork tenderloin
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce, low-sodium
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp dry sherry (optional)
2 tsp cornstarch
3 ea dried wood ears
6 cups chicken broth, low sodium
1 can (8 oz) bamboo shoots, drained and shredded
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and shredded
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (shiitake or white button)
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 small cayenne pepper, crushed (or 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce)
8 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
1 green onion, top only

1. Cut wonton wrappers into 1/2″ wide strips. Heat canola oil in small skillet and cook strips a few at a time until lightly browned. Remove strips, drain well on paper and reserve for garnish. Repeat with remaining strips.

2. Cut pork tenderloin into 1/4″ thick slices, then slice lengthwise to make 1/4″ shreds about 1″ long. Combine pork with marinade ingredients (sesame oil, soy sauce, canola oil, sherry and cornstarch) in small bowl for about an hour while preparing rest of ingredients.

3. Soak wood ears in warm water for 10-15 minutes; slice into long strips (discard any hard, tough spots).

4. Prepare vegetables by cutting into 1/4″ or smaller shreds of uniform size. Shredding is similar to the ‘julienne’ technique. Slice the food into 1″-2″ long strips, and then chop into matchsticks.

5. Stir-fry pork with marinade for about 3 minutes over medium heat, until pork is no longer pink. Remove from skillet.

6. In a stock pot or other large pot combine chicken broth, vegetables, mushrooms, wood ears, pork, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, white and cayenne pepper. Simmer, covered, for about an hour. After simmering, make any adjustments to the “hot” or “sour” by adding either pepper or vinegar (or both). Extra soy sauce can be added to adjust the saltiness.

7. Add cubed tofu and let simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a bowl, then add to soup. Cook for about 5 minutes until soup is thickened slightly, stirring frequently.

9. Remove from heat; serve with wonton strips and green onion tops for garnish.

Servings: 8
Yield: 8 cups

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 166 calories, 58 calories from fat, 6.7g total fat, 14.5mg cholesterol, 332.5mg sodium, 425.8mg potassium, 15.5g carbohydrates, 1.6g fiber, 2.2g sugar, 12.5g protein, 32.5mg calcium, 1.1g saturated fat.

Wood ears can be found in most Asian groceries. They are a dried tree fungus, and have little flavor but add crunchy texture.

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8 Responses to Hot & Sour Soup

  1. debsgarden says:

    I am going to give this recipe to my husband, who is becoming quite a cook. It looks delicious. But, honestly, i have never heard of wood ears! What is that?

  2. Jody says:

    I’m not a cook, but my wife is the best. I’ve looked at some of her ingredients lists and this dish has them all. I’ll bet it’s incredible. She read your blog too and plans to make it. Thanks so much.

  3. We have always loved Hot and Sour Soup, so it is great to see a good recipe. I suspect, however, that Jim would feel compelled to add more chili — being a dyed in the wool chili head.

  4. GrafixMuse says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I have just started experimenting with Asian type recipes and am amazed at how such simple ingredients combine to taste so wonderful. This Hot and Sour Soup sounds amazing and I can’t wait to give it a try.

  5. i was just at tsing tsao last night and had the hot and sour soup. love it! i have a stand by recipe (that includes corn and ‘egg drop’) but i’ll have to try your recipe now, it sounds great.

    • Villager says:

      I used to put egg drop in the Hot & Sour soup, but I came to decide it didn’t really need it. Using shiitake mushrooms was another recent change, though I sometimes make it with button mushrooms. Glad you are enjoying the blog!

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