This post was last updated on December 1, 2020 by India
This easy hot and sour soup is my take on One of my all time favorite things to get at chinese restaurants! it’s gluten free, filling, and my go to recipe when a chinese food craving hits!
About Hot and Sour Soup
This easy Hot and Sour Soup is everything ❤️. It’s our go to recipe when we need something warm, cozy, and comforting. It’s always the first thing Neal requests when he’s starting to feel under the weather (it may help common cold symptoms), and I love it at any time!
I became obsessed with Hot and Sour Soup when I was a student at Indiana University in Bloomington. There was this amazing hole in the wall Chinese restaurant called Dragon Express. I would trek there after class or sometimes skip class in the rain or shine, to grab a quart of their Hot and Sour Soup. I couldn’t get enough of it! It had mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots swimming in a spicy broth tinged with lots of red pepper flakes that would sink to the bottom of the quart. As a glutton for spicy punishment, I would always add more chili paste until it was almost unbearable to eat.
This recipe is my take on the Hot and Sour Soup you’ll find at your favorite Chinese restaurant. It may not be an authentic Chinese recipe, but it’s made with ingredients that are easy to find at a well stocked grocery story like Meijer, Kroger, or Walmart. It’s so tasty and even rivals the Hot and Sour Soup I use to get at Dragon Express!
What is in Hot and Sour Soup?
This Hot and Sour Soup is an americanized version of the traditional version and uses ingredients that are easy to find in your average grocery store. Here is what you need to make this recipe:
- Avocado oil. I prefer to use avocado oil, but you can use another neutral cooking oil.
- Sesame oil. For a light sesame taste that is essential in asian inspired dishes.
- Onion. I prefer to use white onion in this recipe.
- Garlic. Just a few cloves of garlic, minced and cooked with the ginger and onion to help flavor the broth.
- Ginger. Fresh ginger is one of my favorite things to cook with because it just gives the best flavor! If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. When using fresh ginger, I like to grate it using a microplane to release all the flavor.
- Red pepper flakes. For a bit of heat.
- Pepper. For seasoning.
- Salt. Just a little to enhance all the flavors in this recipe.
- Bamboo shoots. I love the texture of bamboo shoots and they’re traditional in Hot and Sour soup, but if you don’t care for them, then you can omit the bamboo shoots entirely or substitute for another vegetable, like carrots or even celery. You can find bamboo shoots in the asian aisle grocery stores.
- Mushrooms. Hot and Sour Soup is traditionally made with wood ear mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms. I can’t find either, so I use baby bella mushrooms. Use whatever mushrooms you can easily find!
- Tomato paste. To help create a richly flavored, dark colored broth. We will only use 2 tablespoons, so it won’t taste tomato-y, just very flavorful.
- Chili Sauce. Sambal Oelek is my favorite chili sauce and what I use when making this recipe. It has so much flavor and the perfect amount of spice. I prefer the Huy Fong brand because it’s easy to find at Walmart or Meijer in the international foods section. You can use Srirarcha instead if you prefer, though it will have a different flavor and will be sweeter.
- Chicken stock. Or you can substitute vegetable stock if you prefer.
- Cornstarch. We will make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the soup.
- Gluten free soy sauce/tamari. To add umami and depth of flavor. Soy sauce isn’t traditionally gluten free, so be sure you use one that is labeled gluten free.
- Vinegar. Vinegar creates the distinctive “tang” that is so associated with Hot and Sour Soup. I like to use a mixture of both rice wine vinegar and plain old distilled vinegar, but feel free to use just one or the other if you don’t have both. You can even substitute apple cider vinegar in a pinch, though the flavor will be different. If using apple cider vinegar, I would start with 2 tablespoons before tasting and increasing if desired.
- Eggs. Whisked eggs swirled into the simmering broth will create the floating egg ribbons.
- Tofu. We will cube up a block of firm tofu to add extra protein and bulk to this soup. Not a fan of tofu? You can omit it and add 2 extra eggs or substitute it with another protein of choice!
How to Make this recipe
Hot and Sour soup is simple to make! Here is how you make it in six steps:
- Cook the vegetables. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, tomato paste, and chili paste to a large pot and cook the vegetables in the avocado oil and sesame oil until soft.
- Add the stock. Deglaze the pot by adding a splash of chicken stock and scraping up any brown bits. Add the rest of the stock, bamboo shoots, soy sauce, and tofu.
- Thicken the soup with a cornstarch slurry. Create a cornstarch slurry by adding the cornstarch to a small bowl and mixing with cold water. Stir the slurry into the soup, and simmer until thickened.
- Make the egg ribbons. Create a whirlpool by stirring the soup. Slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs while stirring to create the egg ribbons.
- Add the vinegar. Add both the rice wine vinegar and distilled vinegar. Taste, and adjust as desired by adding more vinegar for tang or chili paste for spice.
- Serve. Ladle into bowls, top with green onions and serve!
How Many Calories are in Hot and Sour Soup?
A bowl of this Hot and Sour Soup only has 248 calories, making this a filling, but low calorie meal.
Hot and Sour Soup Variations
This basic recipe is just a template, you can easily switch up this recipe to make it how you want using your favorite protein! Don’t like tofu? Omit it and use another protein! Want more veggies? Carrots would be a delicious addition! See below for some of my favorite variations.
Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken
Either omit the tofu or reduce to half and add cooked shredded chicken when you add the tofu.
Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp
Add raw shrimp right after adding the cornstarch slurry and cook until no longer pink.
Hot and Sour Soup with extra Egg
Make the recipe as directed, but omit the tofu and add an additional two eggs. My husband hates tofu, so this is how I typically make it when he’s home.
Hot and Sour Soup with Pork
Pork is a traditional and often seen ingredient in hot and sour soup. Add a 1/4 pound of thinly sliced pork with the chicken stock and simmer until cooked through before adding the cornstarch slurry.
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup
Omit the eggs and add some veggies instead! Carrots, cabbage, or celery would be delicious!
Other Recipes You’ll Love
If you like this recipe, here are some other recipes you and your family will love:
- Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Mushrooms and Carrots
- Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Peanut Chicken
- Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale
Easy Hot and Sour Soup
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 16 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 white onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili paste like Sambal Oelek
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 8 oz can bamboo shoots
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 14 oz package firm tofu cubed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- Green onions for serving
In a large soup pot, heat the avocado oil and sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and mushrooms have released most of their liquid. Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the tomato paste and chili paste and cook until it develops a deep rust color, roughly 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pot by adding a splash of chicken stock, scraping up any brown bits that have developed at the bottom. Add the rest of the stock, the bamboo shoots, soy sauce, and tofu. Bring the soup to a boil.
While the soup comes to a boil, in a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons cold water to create a cornstarch slurry. Stir in the slurry to the now boiling soup and reduce to a simmer until thickened, approximately 5 minutes.
While the soup simmers, in a small bowl thoroughly whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are completely combined. Stir the soup in a circular motion to create a whirlpool. While stirring, slowly add the eggs in a thin stream to create the egg ribbons. Remove from heat.
Stir in both vinegars. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired by adding more vinegar for tang, or more chili paste for spice. Top with green onions if desired before serving.
How to reheat
This soup is best when enjoyed right after you make it. If you have leftovers, gently bring to a simmer over low heat until warmed through.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE
Recipe is gluten free as written.
MAKE IT Vegetarian
Recipe is vegetarian as written
Hot and Sour Soup Variations
- Add chicken. Either omit the tofu or reduce to half and add cooked shredded chicken when you add the tofu.
- Shrimp. Add raw shrimp right after adding the cornstarch slurry and cook until no longer pink.
- Extra eggs. Make the recipe as directed, but omit the tofu and add an additional two eggs. My husband hates tofu, so this is how I typically make it when he’s home.
- Add pork. Pork is a traditional and often seen ingredient in hot and sour soup. Add a 1/4 pound of thinly sliced pork with the chicken stock and simmer until cooked through before adding the cornstarch slurry.
- Make it vegan. Omit the eggs and add some veggies instead! Carrots, cabbage, or celery would be delicious!
DID YOU MAKE THIS easy hot and sour soup recipe?
If you’ve tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please rate this recipe and let me know how you liked it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also like me on facebook and follow me on Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious meals I’m cooking! You can also mention @indiafromindianaor tag #indiafromindiana on Instagram so I can see what you’re making in the kitchen.
HELPFUL RECIPE INFORMATION
All recipes are tested and developed in my home kitchen. Unless otherwise stated, I always use extra virgin olive oil and this Himalayan pink salt in my recipes