Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hot and Sour Soup--American Version

Delicious on a cold day!
by Peg Cochran

Every once in awhile I get a craving for a particular food--something spicy like Chinese or Indian or crunchy like chips or super crisp French fries.  Lately, I've been craving hot and sour soup.  They make a mean version at our local Chinese restaurant, but I wanted to make it myself.

And I was feeling lazy.  We have an Asian market not far from our house where I would undoubtedly be able to get the exotic ingredients that normally go in the soup like wood ears, lily buds and dried Chinese black fungus.  But, as I said, I was feeling lazy.

Instead, I found several recipes that used ingredients I already had on hand--save for tofu and bamboo shoots which I sent my husband to the grocery store to get.  Considering he has trouble locating the produce section, I was quite amazed when he found both the shoots and the tofu in record time.  He even noticed that although the container of shoots was labeled "water chestnuts" the contents were actually bamboo shoots!  Props to him!

While not quite as authentic, the soup turned out to be excellent.  So for everyone who does not have an Asian market nearby (or, if you're lazy like me, and don't feel like going), this soup is almost as good as take-out.

4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cooked, shredded pork or chicken
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (like sriracha)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, julienned
3 oz. tofu, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 tablespoons corn starch and 2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, diced (including tops)
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Bring chicken broth to a simmer and add soy sauce, shredded meat, mushroom and chili paste.  Simmer five minutes.

Add white pepper, vinegar, bamboo shoots and tofu and simmer five minutes more.

Combine cornstarch and water and stir until smooth.  Add to soup and stir well.

Simmer five minutes until soup is thickened.

Beat egg and pour into soup in a stream.  Stir and cook for a minute.  Add green onions and sesame oil.


** I did not have any shredded, cooked meat on hand so I eliminated that.  I also used black pepper since I couldn't find my tin of white pepper.

Julienned bamboo shoots and sliced green onion
Mushrooms cooking

Sriracha sauce can be found in most grocery stores
The mislabeled bamboo shoots
Coming June 2013! Gigi's second adventure!


  1. Sounds like a nice hot soup for a gray day (here, at least). Our local supermarket (chain based in Canada, go figure) has sections for ethnic foods, and it's been interesting to watch them change over time (there's a large Indian section, not that we have a local Indian population). I might even have most of the ingredients on hand!

  2. Our local grocery store also has an extensive ethnic section, and I love going through it to see what's there, but they still don't run to things like lily buds and wood ear. A lot of La Choy. Oddly, or not so oddly given the population of Grand Rapids, we even have a Dutch section.

  3. Peg, I used to make hot and sour soup, back in the day when I was making homemade eggrolls too. Then I got a little turned off to the combination of slimy and woody textures. But I love the flavor, so time to try it again!

  4. Easy, simple, and yummy. Perfect, Peg/Meg. Thanks for sharing!

    Daryl / Avery

  5. Ha, Roberta, I know what you mean. It is both woody and slimy, isn't it? I like the kick from the heat and the vinegar. Especially if your throat is at all scratchy. I don't think I've ever made homemade egg rolls, but I have made my own dumplings, dough and all. The things I used to have time for before I began writing seriously!

  6. I've been in the mood for Asian food, too. You've inspired me to make an American version!


  7. Keeper recipe, Peg. Hot and Sour soup is one of my favorites when I'm feeling under the weather. That red hot Sriracha sauce really does the trick! And LOL on the props to your hub. What a great guy. He not only ran out to get your missing ingredients but also recognized bamboo shoots in a water chestnut container! What an excellent tale of teamwork.

  8. Just wanted to say, I made this for supper last night - WOW!! Closest I have found to the texture and flavor of my favorite restaurant, which has now closed, sadly. Thanks for a great recipe. I love Hot and Sour when I have a cold, makes me feel so much better!!