Hot and Sour Soup… The Ultimate Brew and Cure All

As I type this this the evil winds are howling in Chicago. Wicked germs are flying around but I feel safe and warm after having some Hot and Sour soup. That is all I need to ward the wicked cold away.

I remember the first time I ever had Hot and Sour soup. I was repelled by the site. The thick dark concoction with unidentifiable things floating in it just didn’t appeal to meal.I didn’t even bother tasting the bowl put forth. Then years later at a better restaurant, I was enticed to try it and have been a fan ever since. It’s  my go to brew when I’m under the weather. Hot and Sour soup is the cure the common cold. Why am I posting this for the Great Hallow Tweet? Well its just the sort of brew I see a witch cooking up in her cauldron. Only the intentions and results are good.

Hot and Sour soup is one of China’s most popular soups, yet it can vary by region. The more spicier version being Szechuan of course. Vegetarian versions can be made too with vegetable stocks and no meat. If you are lucky you will find Lily buds( golden needles) which add the healthful benefit .They look like fingernails  .I’m not sure about the mushrooms I got in the market but I thought they were beautiful. Most recipes call for Cloud Ear and other dried mushrooms. A well stocked Asian Market will have the mushrooms and Lily buds  dried. Hot and Sour Soup gets it’s heat from white pepper  and the sour from vinegar. I kicked my heat up a notch with the addition of red chili oil.Remember prep is key to this recipe.


Hot and Sour Soup

  • Various dried mushrooms
  • 4-6 pieces dried mushrooms like Shitake
  • 12 pieces of Cloud Ear mushrooms
  • 3 cups boiling water for soaking
  • 10-12 pieces of dried Lily Buds
  • 1/2 cup chopped  raw pork ( tenderloin, chop)
  • 1/2 bamboo shoots
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch or tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 1 cup diced firm tofu
  • 3-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • Scallions to garnish
  1. In a bowl soak your dried mushrooms with enough boiling water to cover.Cover with a plate and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak Lily Buds in warm water for 30 minutes.
  3. Marinate chopped pork with 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce for 20-30 minutes. While the other items are soaking.
  4. Drain mushrooms and Lily buds.Set aside 1/4 cup of mushroom soaking liquid.
  5. Slice the mushroom and Lily Buds thinly , discarding any hard parts.
  6. In small bowls mix your cornstarch and the reserved mushroom liquid in one. In another  mix your vinegar, remaining soy sauce with sugar and salt.
  7. In a large wok or sauce pan heat with peanut oil until very hot.
  8. Add drained chopped pork and stir-fry for a few minutes until no longer red.
  9. Add ginger.
  10. Add mushrooms and Lily Bud’s and drained bamboo shoots.
  11. Stir-fry for a few minuted.
  12. Add Chicken or Beef stock and bring to a boil.
  13. Add Tofu.
  14. Bring to another boil.
  15. Add vinegar and stir in.
  16. Add cornstarch and water. The soup should start to thicken. If you feel you need more, add more dissolved cornstarch in water to reach desired level of thickness.
  17. Beat egg with some sesame oil and add in a drizzle to the soup.
  18. Add the white pepper and remaining  sesame oil. At this point you can add chili oil to add desired amount of heat.
  19. Taste and adjust with any extra soy , vinegar, or sugar needed.
  20. Serve garnished with scallions and an extra drizzle of chili oil.


Comments Closed

9 thoughts on “Hot and Sour Soup… The Ultimate Brew and Cure All

  1. Chris

    What a great ghoulish soup! I have never had sweet and sour soup. I will have to try this…if the temperature ever goes down here! (its crazy, really)

  2. RJ Flamingo

    Wonderful, Courtney! I can make this kosher – or even vegetarian – simply by leaving out the pork and subbing veg stock. The flavors sound perfect for a blustery day!

  3. Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie

    I’m going to save this one for when the weather gets even colder or when I start feeling the sniffles coming on. Or both. Love the combo on hot and sour. Like you, the first time I tried it I was a bit repelled – but hot and sour is a combination that has a way of growing on you. Thanks for sharing this, Coco. Great stuff. *smile*

Comments are closed.