hot and sour soup

For someone who was all “Harrumph! Cacio e Pepe Does Not Contain Cheddar Cheese.” a few weeks ago, I have some nerve telling you what I’m going to next, which is that I’m pretty smitten with an unapologetically “100% Inauthentic!”-boasting cookbook, the celebration of American-Asian cuisine that is 101 Easy Asian Recipes from the editors of Lucky Peach magazine. There are recipes for “Mall Chicken,” for Rotisserie Ramen, Dollar Dumplings, Miso Claypot Chicken (No Claypot), and then, the recipe in the dessert section that’s going to make you shut the book and never look back again, that for sliced oranges. You know, like the kind they put out at Chinatown restaurants at the end of a meal.

what you'll need, plus some eggs
prepped out

But wait, hear me out. The miso claypot chicken can be made in a rice-cooker, as in, while you are at work, ready when you get home. In fact, the rice-cooker is one of only two specialty cooking items they recommend, that and a wok, and you can make all of the dishes with neither. The rotisserie ramen makes use of not just the pickings, but the carcass of a storebought bird to make a more robust broth. The dollar dumplings, guys, they’re hilarious: “Even if your first dumpling is fugly, the fortieth will be respectable looking, and by your hundredth you’ll be muttering under your breath in Chinese, wondering when the mah-jongg game is gonna get started.” Oh, and, “Sauceless dumplings are like the crying-on-the-inside kind of clowns; they look the part but something important is missing.” The orange slices? Apparently, this is more of a thing than I thought; Joanne Chang steps in to explain that meals with company were always ended with fruit. Baked goods are for daytime meals, with tea.

pork, scallions, ginger, garlic, yes

Regardless, even a cookbook dripping with irony and tongue-in-cheek descriptors is only as good as its recipes, and here is where the magic happens, as it should: I haven’t experienced or read about a flop yet. And people are actually cooking out of this cookbook because they set out when writing it with real people in mind. “We all work long hours and come home hungry to cold kitchens, or have kids to feed, or want to cook because… for whatever else you can’t control, you can put dinner on the table,” Peter Meehan writes in the introduction, where two rules were set forth: 1. No sub-recipes. 2. No frying. I almost wanted to hug this book when I read that.

tofu, mushrooms, optional bamboo shoots

You’d think a hot-and-sour soup with no obscure ingredients that takes all of 10 minutes to cook (yes, TEN) would taste like compromise, like something “good enough” for a weekday night, but unspecial otherwise, but we instead found it to be the best we’ve had. The smartest thing I did was buy too many ingredients so we could make it again tonight. Be like me. You won’t regret it.

hot and sour soup

One year ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic
Two years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts
Three years ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Four years ago: Lasagna Bolognese
Five years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Six years ago: Chana Masala and Walnut Jam Cake
Seven years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
Eight years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Nine years ago: Miniature Soft Pretzels

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Raspberry Crushed Ice
1.5 Years Ago: Apricot Pistachio Squares
2.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles
3.5 Years Ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
4.5 Years Ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey

Hot and Sour Soup
From 101 Easy Asian Recipes; they were inspired by Joanne Chang’s version

I went for the hot and sour soup first because it’s my husband’s favorite, even though it previously wasn’t mine. I found the viscous consistency off-putting, and I like heat moderate, at best. Plus, the recipes I’d seen before this one too daunting, with ingredients that, sure, I could easily purchase in New York City, but would be unlikely to use particularly often after that. Not this recipe. The most “out there” ingredient is dried wood-ear mushrooms, which I intentionally dodged to sort out whether it would be just as good with fresh ones (it is). I added bamboo shoots because we like them in there, but the recipe doesn’t require it. There’s no cornstarch; only eggs thicken the liquid. Heat comes from sriracha; sour comes from rice vinegar. There’s pork in it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t make it vegetarian with a vegetable broth and extra tofu and mushrooms. Should you use pork, it calls for 1/2 pound of pork shoulder, which not all butchers will sell you. You could shave off a 1/2 pound and freeze the rest for another meal, or you could do as Joanne Chang does in her recipe, which inspired this, and use 1/2 pound ground pork instead. Pork shoulder will be much easier to cut into neat little strips if frozen or half-frozen first, although I didn’t bother.

Serves 4

1 ounce (1/2 cup) dried wood ear mushrooms or 5 fresh button or shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
1/2 pound lean pork shoulder, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips, or 1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish, if desired
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 pound soft tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon black or white pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha, plus more for serving
Kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten

If using dried mushrooms: Cover the mushrooms with boiling water in a small bowl, and let stand until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the mushrooms.

In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the pork, garlic, ginger and 1/2 cup scallions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the bamboo shoots (if using), tofu, 1/3 cup of vinegar, the soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, mushrooms and 1 tablespoon Sriracha. Bring the soup to a simmer and season with salt. While stirring constantly, drizzle in the eggs and cook until strands form, about 1 minute. Serve hot, garnished with extra scallions if desired, passing rice vinegar and Sriracha at the table.

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228 comments on hot and sour soup

  1. Linda

    Ah well……;(
    You know, Hot and Sour soup seems to be a globally inauthentic thing…in Chinese supermarkets one of the few just-add-xxx-and-it’s-a-meal things that are to be found is hot and sour soup mix….and I’ve never actually seen anyone make it at home.

    That said, looks great =)

  2. Laura

    My only suggestion (and admittedly I’m making this suggestion without having made your version) would be to swap out black pepper and replace it with white pepper, which is a key ingredient in my version. Excited to try your recipe though!

  3. Anne

    Lucky Peach is some of my favorite reading (and, I think, some of the smartest food writing) around; I’d decided not to buy the cookbook only because it didn’t seem like something I’d make that much use of, but may have to reconsider that now.

  4. deb

    Laura — Good point; I’ll note that as I’ve seen it in many other recipes and a lot of people keep it around.

    Anne — I’m with you. I love that they focus on what I consider fairly neglected topics in other food magazines, like street food and breakfast traditions around the world. I always learn something I didn’t know. I was positive I’d hate the cookbook because it felt hipster-y, more style and wit than substance. And then friends told me they couldn’t stop cooking from it and that the recipes had been excellent. And I love mall chicken. :)

    1. Ellen Weeks

      I LOVE this recipe and have made it often and shared with others. I do not care for cornstarch thickening in hot and sour soup Which is what I liked about the recipe, the fact that it is also delicious makes it a keeper!

  5. Mollie

    When I first made Joanne Chang’s recipe I could not believe how quick, easy, and drop dead delicious it was! Way better than any of the goop from take out hot and sour!

  6. Char

    This soup is incredible!!
    And the book is amazing. I got it for Christmas, and have made several of the recipes. It’s true: no flops!! Everything has been super delicious, and really easy.
    Favourites so far have been this soup, clay-pot chicken (no clay pot), and the pad se ew.
    Also, the “recipe” for oranges is hilarious in my opinion.

    1. Chris D

      Just made this by doubling the tofu and leaving out the pork and it was great. (I used chicken stock, but I’m positive veggie would do the job.) The mushrooms add what you need.

  7. rt

    Hi Deb! If I were to up the spice on this, would it be as simple as adding more sriracha, or did the book name anything else? I ask because years of cooking from your site have taught me that when you say moderate kick, to me it barely registers so I like to plan ahead :) I am really excited to try this!!

  8. deb

    Dana — Absolutely. It’s not like Sriracha is authentic, so I imagine they figured it was the quickest way to add heat that most people already have around.

    rt — Yes, you can add more. You could also add sichuan peppercorns, if that’s your thing. :)

    I, of course, had to go in the opposite directions because my six year-old has yet to have developed a taste for hot sauce. (He’s going to be a terrible foodie.) So, we just added our hot sauce to each serving and left it out of the main pot.

    1. Wend

      This recipe looks great. Would turkey work instead of pork? Just wondering if you need a fattier meat than turkey to make it work?
      Thanks for all your fun posts!

  9. Jess

    Excited to try this! I’ma new mom and have been reading for more than five years. It’s been awhile since I saw a new recipe that looked like something I could make after work in what is now my new, busier life. Plus, this is super interesting cooking that happens in 10 minutes… so, yes please. (My cooking has not been super interesting as of late.) Thanks, Deb! Hope your little ones are well!

  10. Reneé

    Ah! DEB! Just had our annual “Soup”er Bowl last night, and I tried my first crack at this with Tasting Table’s recipe – was worried as there version called for dried lily buds, and I subbed green cabbage strips, but ohmigosh delicious! Roasted pork bones and a 2.5 stock-making process made me wonder if I’d ever attempt it again, but THIS! TEN MINUTES?! This I can do :) Thank you!!! <3

  11. Becca (she bakes)

    Hi Deb! This looks amazing. What do you suggest as a substitution for the pork? We are not vegetarian, but kosher. Do you think chicken or beef would work best – and which cut? Thanks!

    1. Irene Birrell

      I have often made hot and sour soup with chicken breast. Slice it thinly and add it towards the end so it poaches but doesn’t overlook.

  12. Ginger Marks

    Hi Deb,

    Just got 101 Asian Recipes for Christmas. Haven’t used it yet but glad you like it!
    Can you possibly give me a mail order source for Asian ingredients? I live on Cape Cod and am relegated to whatever’s at the supermarket, which as you know, does not always have the best selection. Thanks in advance.


      If you want a wonderful adventure, go into Boston some day and go to the Ming Supermarket. Plan on stocking up on all things Asian. Prices are a lot less than in the big box markets, there is a lot of choice, and it is just plain fun to go. So many Asian foods are dried so they last longer. Rice noodles, mushrooms, spices. And if you are there look to see if they still have the Kiwi Brand vegetable cleaver for sale. Less than 10.00 and a wonderful knife. Fresh oriental veggies are amazing. Grab some friends and go! I live in the Syracuse area now and have found a comparable market here. Great store.

  13. Cookie Maker

    Peops, if a recipe calls for mushrooms and you’re allergic to mushrooms, you leave them out. Ditto for pork. What could substitute for mushrooms or pork? Foods don’t substitute for each other; you just make other choices. And, it’s your food, so put in what you wish. Sure, Deb could be nice and make a suggestion, but there are no absolutes here. Recipes are just springboards from which you go forth and make the food your own; take the general concept and tweak it to your own specifications.

  14. Tamsin

    Aww, Jumperoo! Your bubbanub must be getting big now. I bet calypso Incy Wincy Spider goes round in your head a lot.

    And the soup looks delicious, I’ll have to try it.

  15. Becca (she bakes)

    Well. Thanks for the self-righteous response. It was so helpful. My understanding is that Deb has made the recipe and can indicate the flavor profile added by the pork.

  16. deb

    Mushrooms — As I mentioned above, you can skip them. There are enough other things going on.

    Becca — I’d say either, it’s more about which you’d prefer in your soup. I’d probably lean towards chicken, such as thighs, however, because the prospect of boiled strips of beef sounds off to me.

    Ginger — Amazon has a surprising amount. FWIW, in the beginning they do discuss ingredients and how they’d approach buying each, which would probably be more helpful. (Also I’m very very spoiled with both Japanese and Korean grocers within a few blocks of my apartment, plus Chinatown a dozen blocks further, so I have done very little shopping online.)

  17. jane

    I have been making Joanne Chang’s Hot & Sour soup for a while, and have found a couple of thing to make it even easier (and maybe even tastier).1) If I don’t have any homemade chicken stock (or if I need a vegetarian version), I use Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger broth (it’s conveniently a 4-cup package) and skip the ginger and garlic. 2) whenever I make a big pot of pulled pork, I put aside a cup in the freezer and use that already shredded pork to replace the sliced or ground pork in the soup. 3) I replace some of the rice vinegar with cherry balsamic vinegar which blends really well with the miso broth and gives greater depth of flavor. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to find this vinegar, but it’s what I had in the house the first time I made the soup, and now it’s a staple.

    1. @Jane– I LOVE Trader Joe’s Ginger Miso! I scoop up their cilantro wonton (which I know I get can cheaper & larger at Asian markets), some of their frozen Asian veggies, (hubs doesn’t do cabbage–of any sort) shitakes and make wonton soup w them.

      I can’t wait to try this recipe !

  18. Kim

    I continue to love everything about your site, Deb. Just wanted to point out one small typo: in the fifth line of the head notes, “particular” should be “particularly” (…unlikely to use particular often after…)

  19. Sue

    My mom usually “velvets” the pork slivers with a combo of cornstarch, shaoxing wine, and a bit of canola oil, then add the pork about 20 mins before the soup is done. This way, the pork ends up really tender and the wine helps to enhance the aroma of the meat.

  20. Kyra

    I made a modified version of hot-and-sour soup over the recent snow days. Modified because i needed two ingredients from the Asian market. I ended up skipping those as the dried lily buds had a notation to not eat raw and to soak 30 min first. Scared the dickens out of me. So, thanks for sharing a real-person’s recipe. This is my husband’s favorite soup, but I’m happy to skip that slime and tofu and head straight for good broth and wontons.

  21. Linda

    Oops…so traumatized by memories of school lunches with hot-and-sour soup ladled out of styrofoam vats and thick enough to suspend tofu chunks, I forgot to ask….do you have a go-to bread cookbook?

    There was a post a *long* while ago with tips for bread-baking and I think you were on the hunt for a good one…I trust your judgement ^___^

    (Sorry, I know it’s totally off-topic)


  22. Yael

    My kids LOVE hot and sour soup and I have made several versions from different recipes and am excited to try yours. My kids love the viscous consistency in restaurants and complain that my soup isn’t viscous enough. Other than the eggs and adding cornstarch, is there another way to get that thicker consistency? I’ve found that adding more than a couple of Tablespoons of cornstarch affects the flavor of the soup in a negative way.

  23. Leah

    Unrelated to the recipe: Thanks for being refreshingly honest about your son’s tastes. Despite ample encouragement to try new things, my little eater has a fairly narrow palate, and I get tired of the kvelling about how much Tate (14 months) loves kimchi tacos or how Aeverlee (42 months) just devours Mama’s chicory pancakes at brunch.

  24. Helen

    Any ideas on what I can use to substitute for the tofu? That’s always been a weirdo ingredient to me – kinda slimy and tasteless.

  25. Helen

    Maybe spinach? Or cauliflower? That way it would at least be healthy.
    Yael: Arrowroot powder does work very much like cornstarch and has very little in the way of carbs.

  26. I got that cookbook from the library and loved every recipe I tried! I think I’m probably going to have to buy it now. My favourite were the mall chicken and the korean grilled chicken, but there are so many more recipes that I still want to make. I didn’t test out the hot and sour soup – glad to hear it’s good too!

  27. Tawni

    I love Americanized global cuisine! My mom housed a teacher from China for a few years, and some of the things she cooked that she said everyone loved in China were…. interesting (Glutinous rice balls, anyone?). Also, one of the things she brought from America when she visited her family was fortune cookies – she had never heard of them!

  28. Sarah

    just made this! subbed an unmeasured generous portion of fresh shiitake mushrooms and it turned out great. i love mushrooms so even though i skipped the dried ones because i couldn’t find them, i am thinking using lots and lots of fresh ones are more my style!

    i do wish this recipe yielded more soup… i will probably double it next time! i find the additions totally up to the person, so i loved the bamboo shoots and tofu and mushrooms, but i can see this being great with or without the shoots, tofu, or egg.

    this recipe is great but doesn’t have the thick sliminess…i kind of like chinese takeout thick hot and sour soup though so maybe i’d try a cornstarchy version in the future

  29. Lydia

    Just made this for dinner and it was a smashing success! I actually got a “holy s*** this is good.” I used ground chicken instead of pork (because ground pork was nowhere to be found today at my supermarket), doubled the broth (and added a few extra splashes of siracha, vinegar and soy sauce as a result), added rice noodles, and omitted the egg, only because I had no room in my pot. So good. Definitely making this again and again! And can’t wait to eat it for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for a delicious, nutritious and easy meal.

  30. Annie

    I saw this Joanne Chang recipe over at David Leite’s site. They (him and his testers) loved it too. However, there’s always a sour grape in the comments. One woman (not a tester) actually complained that there was “so much chopping” in the recipe, how on Earth could it be called ‘quick and easy’? Still shaking my head at that. The recipe sounds good and I would leave in the sugar. It’s not lot but makes a difference in the final flavor.

  31. deb

    Allison — I cannot think of a reason it wouldn’t freeze well.

    Helen — There’s a lot going on so, as I said to someone earlier about the mushrooms, you can probably skip one ingredient and not feeling like you’re missing a whole lot. Maybe up the mushrooms to compensate.

    Yael — I think cornstarch is the main way it’s done. I agree with the flavor thing; too much mutes the flavors in the soup, or requires stronger flavors so that they break through.

    Linda — I like Perer Reinhart’s books, I’ve also very much enjoyed the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (brilliant) approach, and I’m enjoying Hot Bread Kitchen now too. Can’t go wrong with the first two, though.

    Leah — Happily! TBH, I don’t actually think he’s a terrible eater, or at least he seems normal to me for a 6 year-old — i.e. pointlessly picky sometimes, surprisingly embracing things I didn’t expect him to other, less frequent, times. Regardless, he had only a few spoonfuls of this before rejecting it. I find the less big deal I make about it, the better, because I’ll make it again and not offer it and that will (sometimes) make him mad to be left out and demand some too (and then I win, mwa-haha). I only make myself miserable if I cave, and I very very rarely do, and offer an alternative. I do wonder why we (me too!) obsess so much over how well a kid embraces a wide range of foods; more or less, most people by adulthood have overcome most of their pickiness, and even if they haven’t, they’re only going to change if they want to. I am beginning to suspect that food at home with kids is tangled up with other things, like the hope that mom or dad is going to make you what you want because you’re tired and have had a long day and don’t want to be challenged at dinner, and less about what kids really like or don’t like. But I only have a sample population of 1 so far. Well, 2; she was gumming a piece of celery tonight but I know as this is the second time around that an infant with an interest in celery doesn’t necessarily translate to an embrace of celery down the road! Jeez, I can write about this stuff forever…

    1. Lynn

      This is wayyy after your comment, so you may not even see it, BUT …
      kids’ tastebuds are sooo very different than adults – they will develop as they get older and may like things later in life that they hated as kids, so don’t worry about their lack of interest!
      My Mom had a great way to deal with new foods. We all (5 of us) had to TRY two bites of a new food. Two, because she knew anyone can choke down just one bite without tasting it. IF you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to eat more (my parents’ favorite saying – “All the more for the rest of of us!”). Food was always plated in the kitchen, not in serving dishes on the table. If you ASKED for something, you had to eat it, but anything else – try it, then leave it if you didn’t like it. Saved many arguments at the table (less stressful) AND kept us from developing the horrible “clean plate” syndrome – kids will eat what they need if left alone. Why push them to eat too much? (Mom was doctor AND a most sensible woman!)

  32. Ebimex

    The tofu dissolved for me when stirring in the egg, tasted delicious but was kind of stroganoff looking. I think my soft tofu was too soft.

  33. Julia

    This looks amazing! Adding it to my “to make immediately” list. I’m wondering how this will reheat. If I make extra, should I leave the egg out until I heat up the leftovers? Household of 1 here :)

  34. Kristina

    I’m so happy you posted this! I have been so happy with the quality of recipes in this cookbook. Nothing has been a flop yet.

    Best recipe so far has been the rice cooker clay pot chicken. The ramen broth was my gateway to making your uncluttered chicken broth a constant habit (pro tip- your dog (and you) will gain very shiny hair from eating home-made chicken stock.)

    The egg dishes have also been fabulous. I like that each success had made me want to try more. I’ve been shunning their Hot and Sour Soup recipe as I have my own passed down family version, but your post has convinced me to give it a try. Thanks Deb!

  35. Mugsy

    Hey Deb, I’ve been avidly reading your blog for years, and am often touched by your passion and humour, always a joy to read, so thank you.
    I have been dating a russian for a while and we have moved in together, and I am now starting Russian lessons at university. As an educator myself, I would advise reading whatever keeps you interested, which in my case is food blogs. So my question for you is: can you or your husband recommend sites I can read in russian? It will take ages at the moment for me to translate, but the words I will be learning will be the ones I want to use.
    I hope that the four of you are all хорошо xx

  36. Sandra

    FYI–lily buds are actually day lily buds, pluck and dry your own (before they open). I usually use red pepper flake for the hot, but really anything you like works. Same for the veg–I use red bell pepper, bamboo shoot, napa cabbage, mushrooms.

  37. Dahlink

    As for little kid taste preferences, I agree that it is best to take a low-key approach.
    My older son despised the soggy overcooked broccoli they served at his pre-school, so we always offered him another vegetable whenever we had broccoli. When his little brother came along, we just skipped giving him broccoli until the night he looked around the dinner table and said “Hey! Where’s MY broccoli?” Many years later they both enjoy it (especially if roasted).

  38. This seems so exotic to me! I have no experience in cooking these sort of Asian dishes but I love them and we often eat them at restaurants. I am bookmarking your recipe, I’d love to start cooking something different to Italian from time to time.

  39. Maura

    And if you liked this recipe of Joanne Chang’s (who is really a baker) – try her cookbook Flour – the brownies OMG the brownies! not to mention the chocolate cupcakes with crispy magic frosting.

  40. stephanie

    this book was already on my amazon wishlist somehow, just because i thought it sounded good. but now reading this as well as the excerpts…oh man, it is going to the top of the list!

    other azn cookbooks i’ve checked out have been good reads but, in reality, i’m not ever going to buy 20 specialty ingredients i’ll probably use once when i could just order takeout (that would taste better than what i could stumble through recipe-wise at home.)

    ANYWAY, thank you. i love hot & sour soup – the ones around here (boston) are always vegetarian but pork sounds awesome. i actually have a pork shoulder defrosting on the counter right now because i’m making (your & lisa’s) carnitas later, and you can never get exactly the amount you need. we never have problems eating up leftover carnitas of course (your recipe is a #1 request around here), but i could shave some off early to save for soup.

  41. stephanie

    ps, erika #67 – yes, the egg is fully cooked. when i was little my mom used to make me “egg drop soup” when i was sick, which was nothing more than a packet of lipton chicken noodle (extra water) with a beaten egg stirred in at the end just like this soup calls for. (i still make it for myself to this day whenever i’m feeling bad – i’m 32!)

    think like the wispy parts of a poached egg, but better.

  42. Hi Deb!

    I just wanted to say awesome post, I have it saved for me to try out, especially since it has been chilly weather.

    I’m new to the whole veganism thing so I am happy that you made suggestions on how to make it vegan friendly!

    Keep the yumminess up!

  43. Never a fan of hot and sour soup myself and my husband being the opposite (seems to be a common combination), your passionate plea to reconsider convinces me to try again. No cornstarch, hurrah – the gloopy consistency was always such a turn off!
    Big garish plastic thing, shocking at first sight, hilarious at the second. Hope she loves it that much.

  44. I’ve never had hot and sour soup before, but my parents love it! I’ll have to try this recipe soon so I’ll be able to know what I’ve been missing out on!

  45. mary

    Shut the door!
    I am, at this very minute, sitting at my desk at work eating Joanne Chang’s version I made from her Flour Too cookbook (the one that has made the rounds on Food52 and other sites). I made a vat of it last week. it is AMAZINGLY good. I used her recipe and used ground pork and white mushrooms. I did also did add a big pinch of ground white pepper in addition to everything else which gave it some nice heat without the bitter you sometimes get with black and that much-needed authentic flavor you don’t get from the siracha alone. it is the best hot and sour I ever had, bar none.

  46. ELCookie

    Just made this and the Mall Chicken. Both were delicious. Thank you! One addition, a friend suggested adding mini-dumplings from the freezer section. I bought some at Trader Joe’s and they were an added treat.

  47. angie

    Mushrooms provide umami. If you’re not vegetarian, try substituting a couple of anchovies or a dab of anchovy paste, and cut back a bit on the salt. Pork can be left out entirely if desired.

  48. I haven’t made hot and sour soup for over 30 years and I lost my Chinese cook book a long time ago but this certainly looks worth trying, especially if it comes like my old recipe used to. I’ll be trying it soon.

  49. Isabel

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Left out the pork and just increased the mushrooms and tofu to compensate and it worked great! It was as simple as it sounds and turned out super tasty – didn’t miss the pork at all.

  50. Abby

    I’ve been making Joanne Chang’s soup recipe from Flour for years! I am so happy for everyone to be able to try it for the first time! We seem to modify it every time. Favorites include adding rice noodles and ladling it onto a bed of spinach which wilts just perfectly. Enjoy!

  51. Kat

    As an ABC I can attest to the tradition of fruit at the end of a proper meal. A fancy hosted dinner at my parents’ never ended without a final platter of oranges, or slices of Asian pear, or watermelon, or whatever. I did the teen thing of resenting it growing up, but now that I’m a mature adult etc, I think it’s a brilliant idea to end dinner with fruit, and am forcing it on my kids. (Though they love fruit, so it’s hardly torture.)

    Hilarious that there’s a recipe for sliced oranges, though.

    As for the carcass of rotisserie birds – who /doesn’t/ turn the carcasses into broth? Either ours get turned into broth straightaway, or the carcasses get chopped up and tossed in a freezer bag to turn into broth later. Low sodium it ain’t, but it’s dang tasty.

  52. Peter

    A home run. I’d just made chicken stock on Sunday so this was an obvious way to go. Made just as described, though with fresh mushrooms. Smitten again!

  53. Maureen

    Loved how simple and easy this was – I had most of the ingredients on hand already. Can definitely see making this again along with incorporating some of the ideas that others have mentioned above.

  54. ivy

    Subtracted: woods ear mushrooms
    Replaced: pork shoulder for readily available thin sliced boneless pork chops
    Added: celery, match stick carrots, bamboo, water chestnuts, shiitake and baby Bella mushrooms
    Used seasoned rice wine vinegar and regular sesame oil

    Result: perfection

    Thanks Deb!

  55. Kathryn

    One question, could you please clarify if you mean white pepper powder or ground white pepper? White pepper can be tricky and be very spicy if over-done. I’ve once made this mistake and used powder instead of ground and ruined a pot of soup!

    1. deb

      Kathryn — I didn’t know there was a difference but I used ground. You can and should adjust any heat to your taste. The soup is supposed to be hot, but not hotter than you’d enjoy it.

  56. Adrianne Collins

    Can’t wait to try this! I don’t really like pork, so I think I will try ground chicken thighs (yes, even adults can be as picky as 6 year old boys – I’ve gone one of those, too!). Also, for anyone interested, Netflix had a very interesting documentary on the Sriracha. It will make you look at that stuff in a whole new light!

  57. Pat B

    Can’t wait to try this! I just bought some Spiced Coconut Vinegar at the Asian market and I’m going to use it for this and substitute Chili Garlic Sauce for the sriracha.

  58. barbara

    this soup was great!! BTW, the recipe for Miso chicken without the hot pot is on the Lucky Peach website. You cook it in a rice cooker (or on the stove).

  59. Anna

    I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and it’s been rough trying to figure out what I can & can’t eat. This looks like a great dinner option!

  60. Jess.

    Jacob’s pickiness (as you’ve described in the comments, above) reminds me of “Bread and Jam for Frances.” I am really excited to try this soup, as the Chinese restaurants up Harlem-way are . . . well, I’m excited to make my own. xox

  61. Avani

    made this last night with the husband and he LOVED it! in the spirit of making recipes immediately without putting it off, it was so quick and rewarding! we subbed chicken in for the pork and it was a nice, hearty treat. I think one could go a little lighter on the ginger (I love fresh ginger but 1 tbsp was a little overpowering) and maybe a splash or two more of vinegar for more of that tang, but that may be just a personal preference. Delicious recipe – thanks for sharing! Definitely keeping this earmarked for future occasions.

  62. dana

    delicious as is .. but i added a handful of baby spinach just before serving and it was divine! similarly, i put some carrot curls on top as a garnish. i can’t help myself trying to sneak in MORE vegetables at every turn!!

  63. Karina

    This. Was. Amazing!!! A few notes: this barely made enough for me, hubby and teenage son, and that was after adding ramen noodles to boost the volume. I will double the recipe next time because it is THAT good, like go back for seconds and thirds, good! Also, I started with low sodium chicken broth and just added Kosher salt, soy sauce, and even a dash of fish sauce until the sweet/hot/salty balance felt just right. I’ve learned from experience, when you start with salty broth, you can’t add the “flavors” which are very salty (soy sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce).

  64. Jess

    trying to cheat by posting here instead of emailing in hopes of a quicker response. On Saturday, I’m making dinner for ten friends, two of whom are serious cooks. I’m looking for a good, relatively fast, non-stressful meal idea. It’s kinda almost tangentially related to this recipe, because soup is a thing you make one of instead of individual portions and seems conducive to feeding a lot of people. Can you help?

    In any case, thank you for all the recipes and I apologize for trying to hijack comments. Won’t do it again!

    1. deb

      Jess — Can you tell me what you had in mind to make? Sounds like you want to make this (in which case, definitely do! It’s a cinch.) Did you want to add noodles or ribs or a slaw to the meal? [P.S. Email is never ever faster for me. My inbox is my worst nightmare.]

  65. Linda Plumb

    THANK YOU! Without a doubt, the best Hot and Sour soup I’ve made at home, and the easiest! Great suggestion to use ground pork, which I doubled. Also loaded it with fresh Shiitake mushrooms. Doubled the white pepper and the Sriracha and added about a teaspoon of black pepper. Perfection! And I LOVED not having to seek out exotic ingredients, like lily buds — I actually had everything needed to just make it!

  66. Alexa Connell

    This was delicious! So easy to make. I ended up using pork sausage, as it was the easiest thing to get my hands on at the time, next time I think I will just do all tofu, because the tofu was amazing!

  67. Mikaela

    Deb – did the original recipe also say to discard the liquid from reconstituting the dried mushrooms? I went on a mushroom forage a while back and the guide provided some dried wild mushrooms at the end. He suggested reconstituting them in water, and then sauteing the mushrooms with oil/butter and reintroducing the liquid to make sure no flavor was lost. Just a passing thought. I’m going to try this soon and sub some of the broth with mushroom liquid. Hopefully it’s not overwhelmingy mushroomy!

    1. deb

      Mikaela — It did say that and I had the same thought as you — why not use it? So delicious. (At least with porcinis, the dried mushrooms I use the most.) However, I didn’t end up using dried mushrooms, so I can’t add any further tips there.

  68. Natalie

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I plan on making this asap. I’ve been eyeing this cookbook for a couple months and I think I’m going to have to break down and buy it. :)

  69. This was the perfect dinner for when returned from the grocery store exhausted and starving. We were eating it half an hour later and absolutely loved it.

    We’re skipping meat today so I used both fresh cremini and dried shiitake mushrooms, including the reconstituting liquid. Before serving I filled each bowl with arugula and ladled the soup over it — the greens instantly shrink down to a whisper but add lots of color and fiber. I also added sliced baby corn with the bamboo and tofu.

    Amazing, the flavors that develop in this short an amount of time. Thank you for always encouraging me to cook even when I don’t feel like it. You’re the best!

  70. Cara

    I made this tonight. I’ve never had hot and sour soup, but my husband loves it. He swears up and down that this is the best, heartiest, most wonderful hot and sour soup that he’s ever had. I also bought enough to make a second batch and look forward to it with glee. Thank you so much for introducing me to this gift from heaven.

  71. Jan Anderson

    My daughter married an ABC and YeYe (Grandpa) always made this soup. I asked why the white pepper, and he said, “It is more to the nose.” His recipe is pretty close to this one. We use chile oil and sesame oil to top it off, and I always add more vinegar.

  72. Randi

    As much as this will probably be frowned upon I LOVED hot and sour from Pick Up Stix and then they stopped making it. I have sadly been lurking around every other cheap and not so cheap Chinese place eating the world of overly salty, not hot or sour soup dreaming of the lost love I’ll never eat again. But then of course Deb comes along to lighten my life with hot and sour soup! I may not make it exactly as written BUT now that I know the basic formula amount of ingredients to make a nicely balanced soup I am going to go forth and try to recreate my sour soupy love, only BETTER! :D <3

  73. Lori

    I am just now reading this because I thought that I probably wouldn’t want to make it. But, you were convincing. Especially with the 10 minute part! I will certainly try it. Anything I can make that quickly after work sounds like a great idea to me!

  74. faith

    This cookbook is the total bomb. I NEVER cook from recipes but I do from this book. And I love it that the flavors are authentic but the prep is so easy. The Claypot Chicken — No Clay Pot is great too.

  75. Jess

    Deb, thanks for your reply! I didn’t know whether I’d get one despite breaking the comment rules, so I actually didn’t see the post until yesterday. I ended up making your lentil-sausage-chard-garlic soup–I’m in Boston and it’s COLD so once I saw it I had to use it. Next time, maybe I’ll try this one…do you have specific noodles, ribs, or slaw you’d recommend to go with it? :)

  76. Amy

    Thank you so much for highlighting this cookbook. Now that you have, and I’ve now bought it, I’m seeing it mentioned everywhere. Synchronicity! I’ve made the Hot & Sour soup, and it is, indeed extra delicious (so glad I doubled it). I’m making Clay Pot (not Clay pot) Chicken tonight. Thanks again for bringing this book to our attention!

  77. Rebecca Epstein

    I found my go-to, easy recipe for my third trimester. I need to eat this everyday. Could be the hormones talking, or maybe this soup is just that good. And since it’s low-carb, it fits perfectly into my gestational diabetes regimen.

  78. Sarah

    This recipe is the best!! I’ve always loved hot and sour soup from “China Garden” or wherever, but I am so happy I can make it myself (I’m always a bit leery the consistency as well). It’s easy and delicious – I’ve made it twice since you published it. By the way, it’s just as tasty with chicken as with pork (maybe better). Many thanks!!

  79. Kristin

    Love Lucky Peach! Need to get my hands on the book. Also a huge fan of hot and sour soup and I have been making the Joy of Cooking (1997 edition) recipe for years. Dead simple and authentic enough for me, who is usually a stickler about things like that. I’m always surprised how much heat white pepper can generate. Thanks Deb! I want this soup tonight but have spent hours in the kitchen today preparing masala dosas, sambhar, tamarind potatoes and coconut chutney. Fun!

  80. LMRAT

    This was the Awesome and easy to make. I’m about as far from a “cook” as you get, but this sucked me in and the whole fam loved it.

  81. CabinGirl

    Made this the other night – after work, with a cold coming on. It was so quick to put together and just what was needed. Never heard of Lucky Peach before but love it!

  82. jake

    wow. used some leftover maple/garlic pork shoulder and gochujang instead of the sriracha. needless to say this is delicious. and so so quick! thanks again!

  83. pjcamp

    Made this. Didn’t like it. Eggs don’t work as a thickener when you do them this way and ground pork feels like gravel in your mouth. Could probably use either cornstarch or arrowroot.

  84. Nancy

    Just made this exactly as the recipe said, and it was GREAT. A very “finished” taste, and didn’t have the odd viscosity of the cornstarch versions. Also, so very quick to make.

  85. Just made this for dinner and it was incredible! In my husband’s words: “professional.” Made it vegetarian using veg. broth, extra mushrooms, and extra tofu. The beaten egg thickened the soup beautifully (and was pretty magical when I poured it in!). So flavorful and delicious, we both had seconds plus there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Great find of a recipe!

  86. I don’t know why I ever look anywhere else for inspiration, because I always come back to your site and ideas! Just made this for dinner and your chocolate chip cookies will be our dessert. So much yum. Thank you!! <3

  87. Rebecca

    This was delicious! Thank you, Deb! Hot and Sour soup is my hubby’s favorite and he loved this one. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (no pork here – kosher home!) and seasoned rice vinegar (it was what we had). Worked perfectly. I think next time I’d skip the chicken all together (maybe use a vegetarian broth?) and just add more tofu.

  88. Stu Borken

    Wonderful soup. I bought a bottle of black vinegar yesterday and wondered if anyone had used this in the soup? It is supposed to be the actual vinegar to be used. When I made it 2 weeks ago, I omited meat and increased the medium-firm tofu and added extra rice wine vinegar and sriracha for more sour and heat. Making it again today. I’m going to try the black vinegar.

  89. TG

    Made this last w/e. Fantastic. My partner loves hot and sour soup but not prawns which every single local takeaway adds so now they can have the shellfish free version. This went down very well for lunch as leftovers too.

  90. P Adams

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I would not have thought to make Hot and Sour soup myself although I love it. I made it tonight and it was fabulous. I’m excited to be able to easily make it at home.

  91. Betty

    Your bamboo shoots look way different from the anemic looking ones I find in the Asian aisle at the supermarket, what is the brand you use?

  92. Colorado Kat

    Outstanding! I just made this for my husband post-knee surgery. I wanted something nourishing he could eat even if he had an upset stomach (and I’m sick of chicken soup). I made it as-is and already look forward to having it again soon. Personally, I will up the mushrooms and back off on the tofu next time, but broth flavors are right on.

  93. julia

    I just made this tonight and it was excellent! One issue I had was that the beautiful brown broth turned muddy after adding the egg. The only strands that fully formed were egg whites so I imagine the muddiness came from the yolk. My pot was getting a little crowded – could that have contributed to it? Planning on making this again soon and would love any advice on how to avoid this. Thank you!

  94. Seeing as hot and sour soup is one of the things I miss most moving from SF Bay Area to Phoenix, I will definitely be giving this a whirl. In Phoenix, they put shrimp in it sometimes and I am a traditionalist when it comes to my hot and sour soup, so shrimp is just strange.

  95. deb

    Betty — Sorry, I don’t have the jar anymore (and wouldn’t have been able to read it anyway as there wasn’t a word in English) but it’s the small one you can see on the left in the 2nd photo. I bought it at a Japanese grocery store in my neighborhood.

  96. John M

    I’m nineteen, living on my own, and this just totally made my night! (and my roomate’s) It is so good. I ran out and got all the stuff, whipped it together, and it is exactly what I wanted. Thank you!

  97. Social Media/Marketing Intern at Temple Square Hospitality, and recent graduate from Westminster College. Freelance beauty product connoisseur, expert in all things of the macaroni and cheese variety, spontaneous travel junkie, and single parent to one rebellious teenage cat. I believe a little turbulence makes life more interesting.

  98. Sam

    Best hot and sour soup I’ve ever had! I’m always a fan of the take-out versions, but my husband is not. This, however, he loved!

  99. Sally

    I came back to this recipe tonight. It’s been so hot I haven’t made it recently but a trip to the local Chinese grocery and some blasting AC, and it was time to try this again. This time I had done some research into some Chinese pantry items and since I’m fortunate enough to have several Chinese supermakets, yes, supermarkets, in my town, I went for the authentic soy sauce, black vinegar, and some Chinese cooking wine, I also added some julienned carrots and a cup and half of shredded cabbage so I could up the veggie content. I used baby bellas cause I’m not too keen on tree ear mushrooms, and forgot the bamboo shoots, but added some water chestnuts for crunch. The results using the good Chinese dark soy sauce, and black vinegar, were insanely good. The soup was pretty much indistinguishable from a good restaurant version without the cloying goopiness. The broth which was chicken, came out dark and rich with so much more of a balance. While I realize that not everyone has access to authentic Chinese ingredients, (I happen to live in a town with a huge Chinese community and have 3 Chinese supermarkets at a stone’s throw), if you do, don’t hesitate to use them here. I used Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce, and a black vinegar that was on sale. The Chinese cooking wine was all in Chinese so I don’t know the brand, sorry. Boy oh boy is this a great recipe. Thank you, Deb for a new favorite comfort food.

  100. Julie

    My 10 year old is a huge hot and sour soup fan. She is very picky. Made this tonight – and as I was trying to gently squirt (vs. measure) the sriracha into the soup, the entire cap came off and what was probably about 1/4 cup went into the sauce. Not having any more broth to dilute, she still wanted to try. She liked it a lot but had to stop at a half bowl because it got too spicy.

    We will dilute with some broth tomorrow and make again.

  101. That looks brilliant. I love mushrooms, so I pretty much like any recipe containing them. This soup is making me hungry even now. Only an hour after taking my breakfast.

  102. Theresa Brennan

    Holy cow, this was delicious. Just made this and inhaled it. Can’t wait for dinner tomorrow so that I can eat the rest.
    Only made one change and that was to add slightly more broth and a tiny bit more tofu. 100% yummy.

  103. This is tagged as being gluten-free, but the ingredients list includes soy sauce– which usually contains at least some percentage of wheat as well as soy. A GF newbie might not know this! Please consider removing the gluten-free tag from this recipe?

  104. sheen asgar

    This soup is absolutely spectacular! I made it at my house today for a yummy winter treat, and it was the easiest and excellent for those who has on diet. It has amazing flavor We added some noodles just for the fun make this soup! Regards,
    Sheen Asgar

  105. Michelle Morrison

    I’m a big fan of your blog. I just made this soup again tonight and it is just so good. A winner every time. My boys have gone back for thirds already. In Hawaii all these ingredients are readily available fresh. I want to thank you for this recipe and for continuing to provide wonderful fresh recipes for your readers. Can I tell you how I found your blog? Years ago somebody online was dissing Pioneer Woman for her use of canned/processed ingredients in a recipe, and said if you want really good recipes based on fresh and seasonal ingredients, check out Smitten Kitchen! Although Ree Drummond does have some recipes I truly like, I much prefer using the fresh ingredients you consistently use in your recipes. Keep up the good work!

    1. deb

      ! That’s quite a story! It’s a shame people just don’t read if they’re not into the cooking or just shrug and wait for the next recipe, you know? I know her recipes work well and make a lot of people happy; I refer to them a lot. I’m glad you’re enjoying the soup.

    2. helenhawk1

      Found myself thinking that the circumstances of where Deb and Ree live might feed into this. And, of course, we all live in all sorts of different circumstances out in internet-land. But when you cook out of a pantry/freezer since it’s quite a drive to town to get more vs a trip out to the store (says the woman who lives more 1/2hr drive from the nearest mkt). Then there’s personal taste as well, of course.

  106. Carol

    We made this soup tonight and we both loved it! I subbed chicken for the pork and it turned out great. It came together fast too. Thanks, Deb!

  107. we recently ate some terrible food at the ONLY chinese place on the small island on which we live. so when i asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday, he replied, “homemade chinese!” hot and sour soup is his favorite, and once again SK has come through! now where are your recipes for crab rangoon, general tso’s chicken, and bubble tea? :) (ok, maybe bubble tea isn’t exactly chinese but he still loves it). thanks for this killer soup!

  108. This soup is the bomb. The book is absolutely fabulous too– the dollar dumplings left me near tears of joy with how easy and delicious they are. I kept wondering how dumplings could truly be just that easy. A few of those steamed on top of this soup would be one of the greatest weeknight dinners ever.

  109. Dee Meyer

    I’ve made this a few times, so easy and absolutely delicious! Tonite I digressed a bit from the traditional….I had no pork or chicken, so I threw in some potstickers and a few left-over pad thai noodles. I had no scallions, but I had lots of chives in the garden, and grabbed a handful of lemongrass (yes, I grow it myself!) and tossed that in the broth. Some shaved carrot ribbons, fresh mushrooms, and a half a bag of frozen peas. The seasonings & the broth were exactly as written…and it was great!!!!
    Deb, I love your recipes and your style of writing. Thank you for good food and the entertainment! Every recipe of yours that I have tried has been delicious!

  110. AinOakPark

    Ha! This is too funny! Sounds like the book for me! I have a home-made family favorites cookbook in which I have a recipe called “(Not) Spanish Rice.” The introduction says it all, “Not Spanish, not rice, not Spanish Rice.”

  111. Elizabeth

    Hi! If I want to use chicken instead of pork, how would I go about it? Would I cook the chicken longer in the beginning of the recipe? Or poach separately and then just add it in?

    1. deb

      I’d use chicken thighs, personally. I wouldn’t expect the cooking time to be different, in fact, I’d expect it to overcook more quickly because it’s less fatty.

  112. Amy

    I feel like a dunderhead, since I forgot how much I love this recipe and this cookbook. Thank you for your beginning of the year (2018) email with all of the glorious soup recipes. I’m starting out the new year with a dilly if a cold, and this soup surely fits the bill. Happy New Year, and thanks for your wonderful blog.

  113. Diane Sweeney

    This was as delicious AND as easy as you said! We loved it and I will be making it again soon. Sadly, my store did not carry the soft tofu, so I substituted tofu noodles for the tofu and it seemed to work! I’ve sent this along to several friends and they’ve also tried it – and LOVED it!

  114. Tracey

    My 17 year old son asked for the Lucky Peach cookbook for Christmas. I’m looking forward to some of his creations! I hope he starts with H & S Soup 🍲

  115. Jayne

    I find making a trip to my Asian grocery easiest for this recipe. Skip the pork shoulder and buy a half pound of bbq pork – it is delicious and easy. Get fresh mushrooms (they usually have several types) and bamboo shoots. In my city it is always less expensive than the supermarket. Spend less, eat better.

  116. Marcy Brown

    This soup is delicious, exactly per the recipe.

    First of all, I’m a big fan of hot and sour soup. As an ex-New Yorker, I used to buy it by the quart at my favorite Chinese restaurant on Broadway somewhere in the 80s (New Yorkers will understand that’s an address, not a decade). After we moved to LA it took some hunting to find New York quality Chinese food. Despite the large Asian population here in southern California, the food is just different. But we finally found it.

    This soup tops it all. It’s homemade. It tastes homemade. The flavors are all what they should be, but they’re deep and pure and oh so comforting. And I can’t believe how easy and FAST it is to make. I told my husband, the actual New Yorker, that I was making hot and sour soup for dinner and he was seriously impressed. It just seems like it should be harder, or that it should take longer. Alas, it doesn’t–yay Deb.

    I will make this again and again and add it to my ever-growing list of Smitten Kitchen favorites, which keeps getting longer and longer. I love your blog and I love you. Thanks for being fabulous! <3

  117. Cristina

    I have made this twice without pork. Used chix broth, more mushrooms (and more cooking oil), 1 pound of tofu and doubled the pepper, ginger & scallions. Didn’t have sriracha and the dry red peppers I substituted didn’t bring much heat
    but it was still satisfying. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Boyfriend had requested hot and sour soup (which I’ve never had). I was going to make a recipe from a national newspaper but I couldn’t find several of the ingredients in my grocery store. I didn’t realize that you had a recipe until I stumbled upon it while looking for something else – and I was delighted, since your recipes are always winners. Bottom line, this recipe was great. I used fresh shiitakes, pork tenderloin, and firm tofu (all I could find!) but still delicious to both me and the boyfriend. Thank you!

  118. Susan

    It is cold, nasty and battleship grey here, but this soup sure brightened things up. I did add a little more ginger and a little more sricacha and some water chestnuts, but so comforting and so so good. This is a keeper, and definitely on the recipe list for days when you aren’t feeling your best. Love your cooking Deb, have cooked so many things off your blog over the years, and they are almost always great if there isn’t ahem operator error.

  119. Carole in Carolina

    Am eating it now. Delicious but clearly I do not know how to drizzle eggs to create strands. Ended up kind of muddy not like my favorite take it.

  120. Roisin

    Made the recipe using vegetarian broth and omitting the pork. The broth is very flavorful, but I will omit the egg next time- I love egg drop soup but don’t like the texture here. I’ll definitely be making this soup again soon!

    1. Slicey

      Without egg to thicken I like to use arrowroot powder (instead of cornstarch), which is commonly used to thicken sauces and get that glossy sheen in Chinese cooking.

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  122. Lindsay

    I made this last night and it turned out great, felt like all of the flavors were there – it hit every note you’d expect from a Hot and Sour Soup. And a Soup that packs a flavorful punch is far and few in between. I would make again and again on a cold night. I did omit bamboo shoots just because I couldn’t find them in the grocery store, but they’re really not needed. Also if you are sensitive to heat, 1 tbs. sriracha may not seem like a lot, but trust me – dial. it. back. I love heat, especially flavorful heat – so not a problem! Soup came together in 30 minutes, great for a busy week night.

  123. Ellen Weeks

    This is the BEST hot and sour soup I’ve had since I left Seattle where I lived for a year. There is a restaurant called Din Tai Fung and there are a few in large cities, New York City, London, but I live in Maine😳
    I’m pretty sure they don’t put cornstarch in theirs either, seems like a small thing but it makes a big difference to me. Thanks again for a stellar recipe!

  124. Katie

    I’m so happy to see this classic soup dish on your site! I understand the aversion to cornstarch, although it’s always been a part of my family’s recipe growing up. If anyone does prefer a thickened version, remember to mix the cornstarch with cold water (I do a 1:5 ratio) before adding to the pot to prevent lumps from forming. Always add this towards the end while the soup is still boiling, but before adding the eggs.

    To get the long egg ribbons/strands, I would actually recommend turning the soup down to low, adding the beaten eggs (all at once is fine), and then with a spoon positioned at the bottom of the pot, mix the soup in a circular direction (counting 3-4 seconds for every full circle). The key is to do this on LOW, SLOWLY and in ONE DIRECTION. If the soup is boiling it will break the eggs apart.

    Rather than cubing tofu, you could also cut them in strips (baked or marinated tofu usually works better for this) to keep all ingredients in the same shape/form. This is a lesson – and now compulsion – for both texture and aesthetics that I was taught growing up cooking Chinese/Taiwanese food at home (although you’ll see this in restaurants too).

    And I agree with others that a good alternative for heat is more black/white pepper, chili oil, szechuan peppercorn, or better yet, all of them.

  125. Lora

    I saw this posted on IG yesterday morning and I made it last night for dinner! I was inspired! And, it was delicious. Three brief comments: 1) I used ground pork since it was such a small amount, it was easier to purchase just what I needed. I’ve found that the ground meat really soaks in the garlic and ginger flavor too, making the meat delicious, not just a flavoring for the broth. 2) I tasted it after ten minutes and I wasn’t impressed. It tasted like a mouthful of individual ingredients. The vinegar was especially strong. I let it simmer for 45 minutes and the taste was incredible. Like all of the flavors had melded and the vinegar flavor was gone, leaving just the sour note. 3) To get really good “stringy” eggs, I like a technique that I saw demonstrated on YouTube. Search for “Egg Flower Soup” and you will find several techniques presented and move you away from the “curdled” look of the eggs. Thanks for another incredible recipe, Deb!!! You have encouraged me greatly, over the years, to step out of my cooking comfort zone and I am grateful for your inspiration!

  126. DeAnna

    Just made this today and it tastes almost as good as my local restaurant’s, and it really was done in 10 minutes! My busy schedule and I salute you, Deb!!!!!

  127. hamletta

    I love this recipe so very, very much. I might could get a little weepy.

    It comes together in a snap, and it’s so delicious, and it makes your house smell heavenly.

  128. M

    I’ve made this multiple times in a vegetarian version and it turns out great every time! I leave out the tofu, since I usually don’t have it at home, but it still tastes great with more mushrooms and veges. I’ve experimented a bit and found I also like versions with savoy cabbage in winter, or other greens depending on the season or more asian seasonings (like half a star anise pod and/or a kaffir lime leaf).
    In the Christmas cookie season it’s great to use up left-over eggparts from baking, when you’ve had crème brûlée twice already and don’t know what to do with your yolks.

  129. Cait

    What makes it Hot? 1 tsp of pepper? and a Tbsp Sriracha only? The best hot and sour I ever had made me pop out in a sweat and hiccups

  130. Lucky Peach’s 101 Asian Recipes is one of my favorite books and has a prominent position in my cooking library. It sits right next to all the Lucky Peach Magazines! I’m excited to try this recipe but with a few changes – I’m going to add the bamboo shoots like you did, but I prefer firm tofu in my soups. I’m also going to swap out the sriracha with some finely diced thai chilies or fresno reds (not a fan of sriracha).

  131. Cindy

    Incredible! Thank you for re-posting this in December 2019. I made it the day after Christmas after a long work day, a stop at the market for a few of the ingredients, and just three hours of sleep the night before. My husband LOVES hot and sour soup and when he figured out what I was making, he literally squealed with glee hahaha. He said it was the best he’d ever had. I used ground pork, a mix of fresh mushrooms, and white pepper. Highly recommend.

  132. Natalie

    Made this for dinner and it was quick and easy. I doubled the recipe and made it veggie, with veggie stock and more tofu and mushrooms as suggested. I wouldn’t change a thing!

  133. Meagan

    Delicious! I added some soy beans (great) and some kale (medium results), and used chicken instead of pork. It was perfectly spiced for me, but my husband added a bit more vinegar and shiracha to amp it up. I’m not a big soup fan, but this was a real meal soup. We had some spring rolls on the side to round it out.

  134. Brynn

    Made this tonight and it’s just. so. good! Added some torn up spinach to my bowl, because I had some on hand, didn’t clutter it up too much.

  135. Kaci

    LOVE this recipe! Like you, hot & sour is DH’s favorite but was never mine (I’m wonton all the way). So I originally made this recipe to please him, and was very surprised by how much I liked it as well. Have made it lots of times, and last time, DH mused “I wonder what it would be like if you added shrimp dumplings to it?” So that’s what I just did tonight, instead of the tofu, and it is great. (Personally, I would have liked the tofu in there as well, but I still haven’t won DH over to tofu as a general matter). Also, I’m sure someone has already said this in the comments somewhere, but for the pork, I always just buy one or two skinny loin or butterfly chops, chuck them in the freezer for 30 mins and then slice thinly. Works great. Thanks for yet another great recipe—since I made your buttermilk biscuits last night (with grilled kielbasa-type sausage from a local place, so good), I feel like I’m having a Smitten Kitchen quarantine.

  136. Francoise

    Just received this book via a swap. I’m loving the tone, it’s made me laugh a few times out loud! The recipes also seem very accessible for western cooks – a good way to introduce and encourage people not used to cooking with Asian ingredients to start. The only problem now is which recipe to start with? It may very well be this soup!

  137. Lori

    Made this last night – really quick and absolutely delicious. What would you suggest serving with it? I didn’t want anything with more soy sauce, so I made a mash up of your vegetable fritters with veggies I had on hand. Thanks.

  138. Pam Stohrer

    I went in a skeptic…and then ate 2 giant bowls full lickety-split! I love this easy recipe, which makes a better soup than any restaurant here in NH.

  139. Helen

    Can this be made an hour or two in advance? Maybe just turn the heat off before adding the egg? Thinking of making it with a big Chinese feast

  140. Emily Totten

    This is a great recipe! I had to substitute some things based on what I had in the fridge (red onions instead of spring onions, cabbage instead of bamboo shoots, portabella mushrooms, no pork) and it was still hot, sour, and delicious! I think the combo of sriracha and rice vinegar was key.

  141. Suzanne M

    For Dana: I think chili oil tastes very different from sriracha tho’ it’ll give you the zip you need. indicates that Franks Red Hot and Tia Lupita’s Hot Sauce do not have zanthan gum. (Check the bottle, just in case.) They might be closer in flavor.
    For those who don’t like tofu “slime,” look up the internet hack for microwaving firm tofu in paper towels to dry it out quickly. You need moisture for slime!
    This is a great website. Thank you Deb!