Recipe: Hot and Sour Soup to Warm The Soul


One of my all time favorite food items is hot and sour soup. Even though it doesn't get cold here in California the way it does back east, I still like to make this soup as a comfort food, especially when I am sick.  There was a little Chinese restaurant we would get take out from growing up and there was just something about their hot and sour that I loved. Ever since then I always order it when I go to a new Chinese Restaurant and I am now a bonafide hot and sour soup snob. I have no idea if the way I like it is authentic or not, but I have very specific requirements and eventually became sick of continuously being disappointed so learned how to make it. It's actually pretty easy and the flavor only gets deeper after a night in the fridge. I like to make a large pot of it and have it for leftovers or even freeze some. I got the original recipe from here but tweaked it based on taste. The key to this soup is depth and balance and for good depth you need a good stock. I like to add beef stock as well as chicken to add a little more flavor without overpowering the soup. You could use a veggie stock but if you do I would recommend making your own. One I like that has a lot of flavor can be found here. For balance, don't be afraid to add a little more vinegar if it doesn't seem sour enough, or more black pepper and chili paste if it isn't spicy enough, but be careful not to go too far in one direction because sometimes the only way to fix it is to start over.

Hot and Sour Soup

  • cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 lb julienned lean pork or 1/4 lb chicken
  • tablespoons garlic and red chile paste
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom
  • 1 (7 ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 (15 ounce) can baby sweet corn cobs
  • 1.4 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/2 lb soft tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • teaspoon sesame oil
  • finely chopped scallion (to garnish)
  1. Bring stock to a simmer, add soy sauce, pork, mushrooms& chile paste, simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add  pepper, vinegar, bamboo, baby corn, water chestnuts, fungus and tofu, simmer 20 min
  3. Mix cornstarch with 5 tbsp cold water and add to the soup.
  4. bring back to a simmer and pour the eggs in a very thin stream over the surface.
  5. Let stand for 10 seconds before gently stirring in the sesame oil.
  6. Serve with a garnish of chopped scallions

Paleo Alternate

Replace Soy sauce with Coconut aminos and add salt to taste

Replace cornstarch with arrowroot

Remove baby corn cobs

Remove tofu