Hot & Sour Soup – Easy & Authentic!

by Ella

Hot and sour soup, a staple in many Asian cuisines, is a harmonious blend of contrasting flavors and textures. This iconic dish tantalizes the taste buds with its balance of heat, tanginess, and umami richness. Whether enjoyed as a comforting starter or a satisfying main course, hot and sour soup holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the art of crafting the perfect hot and sour soup, from selecting the right ingredients to mastering the intricate balance of flavors.

How to make hot sour soup

Hot and sour soup, revered for its complexity and depth of flavors, has captured the hearts of food lovers worldwide. Originating in China, this dish has traversed borders and culinary traditions, finding its place on the menus of Chinese restaurants, Thai eateries, and beyond. Its allure lies in the intricate dance of contrasting sensations: the gentle heat of chili, the zing of vinegar, the umami of mushrooms, and the heartiness of tofu or meat. Whether enjoyed on a chilly day or as a remedy for a weary soul, hot and sour soup offers a symphony of tastes that awaken the senses.
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Soup
Yield: 2
Cost: $5


  • 1 Knife
  • 1 pot
  • 1 spoon


  • 4 oz. pork shoulder (finely julienned)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 0.3 ounce dried lily flower (rehydrated, ½ cup after rehydrating)
  • 0.3 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms (1/2 cup after rehydrating & slicing)
  • 0.3 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (1/2 cup after rehydrating & slicing)
  • 3 ounces spiced dry tofu
  • 4 ounces fresh firm tofu
  • 4 ounces bamboo shoots
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scallion (finely diced)
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy or mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup water


  • Cut the dried chilies in half and discard the seeds. Mince them up and set aside.
  • In separate bowls, soak the dried lily flowers, wood ears, and shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of water each for 1-2 hours, until hydrated. Using hot water (like you’re brewing tea) will significantly speed up the process.
  • Once they’re ready, thinly slice the mushrooms and give the wood ears a rough chop. Trim the tough ends off the lily flowers and cut them in half.
  • Cut both the spiced tofu and the firm tofu into 2-inch long and ¼-inch thick pieces. Julienne the bamboo shoots. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Wash and chop the scallion and set aside.
  • Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a wok or pot. If the pork has clumped and stuck together, it is best to add another tablespoon of water to loosen it up before adding it to the soup.
  • Stir in the pork and quickly break up any clumps that may form. Once the soup is simmering again, skim off any foam that floats to the top with a fine meshed strainer.
  • Add the salt, sugar, dried chili pepper (if using), white pepper, both soy sauces, and sesame oil.
  • Next, add the lily flowers, wood ears, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots and bring the soup to a simmer once again.
  • Next, add the two kinds of tofu and the vinegar and stir. It should start to look and smell like the real thing about now!
  • Combine the ⅓ cup cornstarch with ¼ cup water to make a slurry. Ensure it’s well-combined, as the cornstarch tends to settle to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and use your soup ladle to stir the soup in a steady circular motion to make a whirlpool while slowly drizzling in the cornstarch slurry. This prevents the cornstarch from clumping.
  • Stop when you’re about ¾ of the way done with your slurry and keep stirring until the soup comes back up to a simmer.
  • Check the consistency of the soup, as it should be thick enough to coat your spoon or ladle. Add the rest of the cornstarch slurry if you like it thicker.

Adjust Seasoning

Once the soup is the consistency you like, check it for flavor with a spoon and adjust to your personal preference. Add some white pepper if you like it spicy, and vinegar if you like it sour! White pepper gives the soup its signature heat, and the amount of vinegar can be adjusted depending on how acidic you like your hot and sour soup.


Keep the soup boiling (the soup should be bubbling before adding the eggs, otherwise the soup will become cloudy when the eggs are added) and start stirring with the spoon again in a circular motion. Once the soup is moving in a slow swirling motion, slowly drop the beaten egg into the soup.


Serve with chopped green onions for a hot and sour soup!


Nutritional Value of Hot and Sour Soup (1 cup, approximately 240 ml)

Calories: Around 75-100 calories, depending on ingredients and portion size.


Protein: Approximately 3-6 grams, depending on the presence of protein-rich ingredients like tofu, chicken, or shrimp.

Carbohydrates: Typically 8-15 grams, largely from vegetables and possibly noodles.

Dietary Fiber: Can contribute 1-3 grams, primarily from vegetables and ingredients like mushrooms.

Fat: Generally 3-5 grams, with variations based on cooking methods and ingredient choices.

Saturated Fat: Around 1-2 grams, depending on ingredients like oil and fatty meats.

Cholesterol: Varies based on protein sources; may range from 0 to 30 milligrams or more.

Sodium: Can range from 800 to 1200 milligrams or more, primarily from soy sauce and broth.

Vitamin A: Contributed by ingredients like carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms.

Vitamin C: Provided by ingredients like bell peppers and lime juice.

What Makes Our Hot And Sour Soup Recipe Authentic

1. Traditional Ingredients: Authentic hot and sour soup recipes feature ingredients that are true to the dish’s cultural roots.

2. Balance of Flavors: Authentic hot and sour soup achieves a delicate equilibrium between the key taste components—heat, sourness, saltiness, and umami. The interplay of these flavors creates a symphony on the palate that is both invigorating and comforting.

3. Cooking Techniques:Authentic recipes often follow traditional cooking methods, such as:

Simmering: Slowly cooking the broth to allow flavors to meld.

Sequential Ingredient Addition: Adding ingredients in a specific order to ensure optimal texture and taste.

4. Homemade Broth: Many authentic recipes involve crafting a flavorful broth from scratch, using ingredients like chicken or pork bones, which enhances the depth of the soup’s taste.

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup vs. Thai Hot and Sour Soup

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup:

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup is a masterful creation that showcases the diverse flavors of the Middle Kingdom. This soup harmonizes ingredients like wood ear mushrooms, tofu, pork, and bamboo shoots. The broth boasts a robust foundation, achieved through the infusion of chicken or pork stock, and is elevated by the tangy spark of vinegar. The result is a symphony of textures and tastes that dance in perfect harmony on the palate.

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Ingredients:

Wood ear mushrooms and tofu create contrasting textures.

Pork adds a savory depth.

Bamboo shoots contribute crunch and flavor.

The soup base is enriched with soy sauce, vinegar, and white pepper.

Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum):

Stepping into the world of Thai cuisine, we encounter the enchanting Tom Yum—a fragrant and invigorating hot and sour soup. Tom Yum embraces a medley of aromatic herbs, including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. Shrimp, mushrooms, and tomatoes add layers of umami, while the fiery heat of Thai chilies ignites the senses. The soup’s clear and vibrant broth is invigorating, making Tom Yum a cherished elixir that awakens the spirit.

Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum) Ingredients:

Shrimp or chicken offers protein.

Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal infuse aromatic notes.

Thai chilies provide a delightful heat.

Lime juice and fish sauce balance the flavors.

Flavor Profile Comparison: The Yin and Yang of Tastes

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup is characterized by its hearty and earthy profile, where the tanginess of vinegar harmonizes with the umami richness of mushrooms and the heartiness of pork or tofu. In contrast, Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum) boasts a more delicate and aromatic flavor profile, with the brightness of lemongrass, the citrusy pop of kaffir lime leaves, and the fiery kick of Thai chilies taking center stage.

What to Eat with Hot and Sour Soup?

1. Steamed Rice: A classic choice, steamed white or brown rice provides a neutral canvas that helps balance the bold flavors of hot and sour soup. The rice’s subtle sweetness and fluffy texture harmonize with the tangy and spicy notes of the soup.

2. Vegetable Spring Rolls: These crispy and flavorful appetizers provide a satisfying crunch that contrasts with the soup’s textures. The combination of fresh vegetables and dipping sauce adds a refreshing element to your meal.

3. Stir-Fried Vegetables: A medley of stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, snow peas, and carrots, offers a vibrant and nutritious side dish. The crisp-tender vegetables complement the soup’s richness while providing a variety of textures.

4. Dumplings: Whether steamed or pan-fried, dumplings filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables are a delightful accompaniment. The savory dumplings enhance the meal’s overall satisfaction.

See Also: Homemade Dumplings Recipe: Step-by-Step Tutorial

5. Sesame Noodles: Cold sesame noodles bring a unique contrast to the hot and sour soup. The nutty flavors of the sesame sauce provide a delightful counterpoint to the soup’s bold taste.

6. Grilled Chicken or Tofu Salad: A light and refreshing salad with grilled chicken or tofu adds a protein boost to your meal. The salad’s fresh greens and zesty dressing create a balance of flavors.

7. Bao or Steamed Buns: Soft and fluffy bao buns, filled with ingredients like barbecue pork or vegetables, add a touch of sweetness and texture that pairs well with the soup.

See Also: Homemade Steamed Buns (Bao) Recipe – Easy & Authentic!


In the realm of culinary experiences, hot and sour soup stands as a testament to the beauty of contrasts and the magic of balance. As you embark on your journey to create this masterpiece, remember that the true art lies not only in the ingredients and techniques but also in the joy of savoring each spoonful. Whether you choose the Chinese or Thai variation, or opt for a modern twist, the rewards are boundless—a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate, a culinary achievement that garners applause, and the heartwarming satisfaction of sharing a remarkable dish with loved ones. Embrace the art of hot and sour soup, and let your taste buds embark on a journey they won’t soon forget.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023