Hot and Sour Soup

Soup Name: Hot and Sour Soup

Chinese Name: 酸辣湯 (suān là tāng)


This American-style Chinese hot and sour soup is a very popular thick soup that contains strong flavors not typically found in traditional Chinese soups (namely spicy and sour flavors).   It can commonly be found in many Chinese restaurants in Western countries.   There are numerous different ways to make this soup, including a vegetarian option (remove the meat-based ingredients).   As variations of this soup vary widely as do preferences over levels of sweetness, sourness and spiciness, many ingredients can be added “to taste”.

What Ingredients are required?

  • 1 pound fresh pork tenderloin (optional)
  • 1 block  fresh tofu
  • 1 handful dried lily flowers
  • 1 handful cut wood ear
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbls soy sauce
  • 2 tbls rice vinegar (can substitute regular vinegar)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (thickener)
  • 1 tsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • Chili oil to taste
  • Sesame oil to taste
  • 2 L of water or chicken broth

How do I prepare it?

  1. Wash and soak the wood ear for 1 hour.  Trim any hard parts and then cut into 3 cm slices
  2. Wash and soak the lily flower in room temperature water for 30 minutes and trim and remove hard pieces
  3. Wash and cube the tofu
  4. Wash and slice the pork tenderloin into short, thin strips
  5. Boil your soup water / broth
  6. Add in the above ingredients and boil until the pork is cooked
  7. Add soy sauce, vinegar, white pepper and sugar
  8. Beat the eggs in a bowl.   While the water is at full boil, slowly dribble the egg into the soup in a circular pattern to create thin ribbons of cooked egg in the soup
  9. Mix the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of hot water until fully dissolved.   Pour mixture into the soup and boil to thicken.
  10. Finally, add sesame oil, chili oil and sprinkle the top with green onions
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Lily flower is said to moisten lungs and alleviate coughs
  • Wood ear is said to increase fluidity of the blood and improve circulation
  • Once you have the ingredients, this soup is easy to make and the flavors can easily be adjusted during the cooking process to suit your personal preferences

Any precautions?

  • Spicy food is considered “heaty” and should be eaten in moderation