Hot and Sour Soup: so good you’ll want to bathe in it, but will much prefer to eat it instead


Hot and sour soup is one of my favorite things to eat in this world.  There’s something about the combination of vinegar and chili peppers, and the soft texture of the egg and tofu, and the crack/MSG they slip into it, that makes me extremely happy.

I also believe that it has magical healing powers.  Whenever I’m sick, it makes me feel at least 50% better.  Many years ago, I had a debilitating case of strep throat.  Like, I came home from the doctor (after picking up an order of hot and sour soup) and almost passed out.  It was actually pretty scary.

Then I had my hot and sour soup, and a half hour later I was as good as new!

(Also, I took a Zithromax right before I had the soup.  I don’t give that any credit for healing me.  As my ENT once said, any self-respecting bacteria can find a way around Zithromax.)

I like dishes that are straight-forward, and you don’t have to ask a lot of questions about what it’s like.  Who am I kidding, I waited tables for three years, of course people will ask what it’s like.

CUSTOMER: This hot and sour soup sounds interesting, but I don’t like spicy things.  Is it spicy?

SERVER: Yes, that’s the hot part of the hot and sour soup.

CUSTOMER: Ok, but you still haven’t dissuaded me from it, I like things a little sweet, does this have a sour taste to it?

SERVER: Yes, that’s the sour part of the hot and sour soup.

CUSTOMER: Alright, well I’m still going to get a bowl of it.  Can I send it back if I don’t like it?

SERVER: Yes, I’ll have a bowl of egg drop soup ready to go.

I’d been looking for a good recipe for hot and sour soup for a while, and finally settled on this one.

Why this one?  Because every other recipe I saw called for a half-pound of ground pork or sliced pork shoulder.

Have you ever seen a package of a half-pound of any meat?  No, which means you have to go to the butcher counter to get it, and that leads to a very awkward conversation, where I ask for a half-pound of ground pork, and he’s like “wow, really going wild there, you must be on your cheat day, what’re you getting with this, tofu”, and I would say “why yes, I’m making hot and sou…” “GET OUT OF MY STORE YOU VEGAN HIPPIE!!”

So yeah, this is much easier and tastier.


Not really, there’s no sautéing or cutting messy stuff.


Hot and Sour Soup

Makes 4-6 bowls

From Make It Mommy



5 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger

1/2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce/paste

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 8 ounce can of bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced

4 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes

1 package of firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/3 cup water

1 egg, beaten



In a large stock pot, combine the broth, soy sauce, ginger, chili sauce, and sesame oil.  Bring it to a boil.  Then add the bamboo shoots, mushrooms, rice vinegar, and pepper flakes.  Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.

Add the tofu, and simmer the soup for a minute or so.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the soup (give the mixture a stir before you pour it in, the cornstarch will separate from the water if it sits too long), and let it come back to a simmer to thicken up.

Stir the soup in a clockwise direction – or counter-clockwise, your call.  Slowly add the egg to the soup, it’ll make those cool egg drops.


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