Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe: A Delicious Blend of Spice and Tang! – Seaco Online
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Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe: A Delicious Blend of Spice and Tang!

Looking for a delicious and warming soup to combat the cold weather? Look no further than the hot and sour soup. This traditional dish has been popular for centuries and can be found on menus across the globe. With its unique blend of tangy vinegar, spicy pepper, and nutty sesame oil, each spoonful is a burst of flavour.

A pot of hot sour soup simmers on a stove, filled with mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots. Steam rises from the bubbling broth, creating a tantalizing aroma

The history and origin of hot and sour soup can be traced back to northern China, where it was traditionally served during the winter months to help ward off the cold. Today, it remains a popular dish both in China and around the world. While the exact recipe can vary depending on the region and the cook, there are a few essential ingredients that are typically used, including mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots, and of course, vinegar and pepper.

If you're interested in making hot and sour soup at home, there are a few preparation techniques and cooking processes that you'll need to know. But don't worry – with a little practice, you'll be able to whip up a delicious pot of soup in no time. Whether you're looking for a comforting meal on a cold day or a flavourful starter for your next dinner party, hot and sour soup is sure to satisfy.

Key Takeaways

  • Hot and sour soup is an authentic Chinese dish that has been enjoyed for centuries.
  • The essential ingredients of hot and sour soup include vinegar, pepper, mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots.
  • With a little practice, you can easily make hot and sour soup at home using a variety of preparation techniques and cooking processes.

History and Origin

A pot simmers with hot sour soup ingredients: tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and vinegar. A chef adds in a dash of soy sauce and stirs the fragrant broth

Hot and sour soup is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is believed that the dish originated in the northern regions of China, but over time, it has become a staple in Chinese restaurants all over the world.

The soup is made by combining a variety of ingredients, including meat, vegetables, and spices. The most common meat used in hot and sour soup is pork, but chicken, beef, and seafood can also be used. The vegetables used in the soup include bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.

Hot and sour soup is known for its unique flavour, which is a combination of spicy, sour, and savoury. The soup gets its spiciness from white pepper, and its sourness from rice vinegar. The savoury flavour comes from the meat and vegetables used in the soup.

In Chinese cuisine, hot and sour soup is often served as a starter, but it can also be served as a main course. It is a popular dish in Chinese restaurants all over the world, and it is often enjoyed with other Chinese dishes, such as fried rice and stir-fry.

If you are a seafood lover, you can add shrimp or crab to your hot and sour soup recipe. The seafood will add a unique flavour to the soup and make it even more delicious.

Essential Ingredients

A steaming pot of hot and sour soup with floating tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and a sprinkle of green onions

When it comes to making hot and sour soup, there are a few essential ingredients that you will need to ensure that your soup is as authentic and delicious as possible. These ingredients include proteins, vegetables, and liquids and seasonings.


The proteins used in hot and sour soup can vary depending on personal preference and availability. Some popular options include pork, chicken breast, tofu, and seafood. If you choose to use seafood, we recommend using prawns or scallops for the best flavour.


There are a few key vegetables that are commonly used in hot and sour soup. These include bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, and egg. These vegetables provide a range of textures and flavours, from the soft and silky texture of egg to the chewy and slightly crunchy texture of bamboo shoots.

Liquids and Seasonings

The liquids and seasonings used in hot and sour soup are what give the soup its distinctive flavour and aroma. Some of the key ingredients include vinegar (such as Chinkiang vinegar, rice vinegar, or white vinegar), soy sauce (both light and dark), sesame oil, salt, pepper (both black and white), sugar, and chili oil.

To ensure that your hot and sour soup is as authentic as possible, we recommend using a combination of these ingredients in the right proportions. By doing so, you can create a soup that is packed with flavour and texture, and that will be sure to impress your family and friends.

Preparation Techniques

Vegetables being chopped, tofu being cubed, and spices being measured out for hot sour soup recipe

Preparing hot and sour soup requires some essential techniques to achieve the perfect flavour and texture. Here are some key techniques you should keep in mind when making hot and sour soup.

Soaking Dried Ingredients

Hot and sour soup typically includes dried ingredients such as mushrooms, lily buds, and wood ear fungus. These ingredients need to be soaked in hot water for at least 20 minutes before use. Soaking these ingredients will help rehydrate them and soften their texture, making them easier to cook.

Marinating Proteins

To achieve tender and flavourful proteins in your hot and sour soup, marinating them is essential. If you are using pork, marinate the sliced lean pork strips with a little cornstarch, water, and oil. You may also use chicken breast as a substitute. For a seafood twist, try marinating shrimps or scallops in soy sauce and rice wine.

Thickening the Soup

Thickening the soup is an important step in achieving the right consistency for hot and sour soup. You can use cornstarch to thicken the soup. Mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water to make a slurry. Add this slurry to the soup and whisk continuously until it thickens. If you prefer a thinner soup, adjust the amount of cornstarch accordingly.

Remember to season and adjust the soup to your taste preference. Simmer the soup for a few minutes and serve hot. With these techniques, you can make a delicious hot and sour soup that will impress your guests.

Cooking Process

A pot simmers on a stove, filled with hot and sour soup. Steam rises as ingredients are added, creating a fragrant and flavorful aroma

Combining Ingredients

To start making the Chinese hot and sour soup, gather all the required ingredients, including mushrooms, tofu, eggs, and bamboo shoots. You can also add seafood such as shrimps or fish pieces for added flavour. Heat the oil in a pot and add the sliced mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and other vegetables of your choice. Cook them for a few minutes until they become tender.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the tofu cubes. Let the soup simmer for a few minutes until the tofu is heated through. You can also add the seafood at this point and let it cook in the soup until it is fully cooked.

Final Touches

To finish the soup, add the hot and sour flavourings. This includes white pepper, sesame oil, and Zhenjiang vinegar. Adjust the amount of vinegar and pepper to your preference. Once you have added the flavourings, mix cornstarch with water and slowly pour it into the soup. This will thicken the soup and give it a smooth texture.

To add a final touch, you can create egg ribbons by whisking eggs and slowly pouring them into the soup while stirring. This will create thin strands of cooked egg in the soup. Garnish the soup with chopped green onions and cilantro for added flavour and presentation.

In summary, making Chinese hot and sour soup is a simple process that involves cooking the vegetables and tofu, adding the seafood if desired, and then flavouring the soup with hot and sour ingredients. Don't forget to add the cornstarch to thicken the soup and create egg ribbons for added texture.

Serving and Enjoying

A steaming bowl of hot sour soup sits on a table, surrounded by chopsticks and a spoon. Steam rises from the soup, and the aroma fills the air

Plating and Presentation

When serving hot and sour soup, it is essential to ensure that it is warm enough to enjoy. You can reheat the soup in a pot over low heat or in the microwave. Once it is warm, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with scallions or green onions. You can also add some julienne vegetables to give it an extra crunch.

The presentation of the soup is also an important aspect to consider. You can garnish with a few drops of chilli oil or sesame oil to add some depth to the flavour. You can also add a few pieces of seafood such as prawns or crab meat to the soup to give it a unique twist.

Pairings and Complements

Hot and sour soup is a hearty and spicy soup that pairs well with a variety of dishes. You can serve it with steamed rice, noodles, or dumplings to make it a complete meal. You can also serve it with some crispy fried wontons or spring rolls as a starter.

To complement the spicy and sour flavours of the soup, you can serve it with a side of pickled vegetables or kimchi. You can also pair it with a cold beer or a glass of white wine to balance out the heat of the soup.

In conclusion, hot and sour soup is a delicious and satisfying soup that is perfect for any occasion. With the right garnish and presentation, you can make it look as good as it tastes. Pair it with your favourite side dishes and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bowl of hot and sour soup sits on a rustic wooden table, surrounded by traditional Chinese spices and ingredients. A spoon rests on the side, ready to be used

What ingredients are needed for an authentic Chinese hot and sour soup?

An authentic Chinese hot and sour soup typically includes ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots, and pork. The soup is flavored with soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil. Other ingredients such as wood ear mushrooms, lily buds, and pork blood can also be added to the soup to enhance its taste.

How do you make a simple hot and sour soup at home?

Making a simple hot and sour soup at home is easy. You will need chicken or vegetable broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, cornstarch, and eggs. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and tofu to the broth and let it simmer for a few minutes. Mix cornstarch with water and add it to the soup to thicken it. Whisk eggs in a bowl and slowly pour them into the soup while stirring. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil to taste.

Can you suggest a vegetarian version of hot and sour soup?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of hot and sour soup by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omitting the pork. You can also add more vegetables such as carrots, snow peas, and bell peppers to the soup. Additionally, you can use vegetable protein such as seitan or tempeh in place of the pork.

What's the secret to the best-tasting hot and sour soup?

The secret to the best-tasting hot and sour soup is to balance the sour and spicy flavors. Use a good quality vinegar and chili oil to achieve the desired taste. Additionally, using fresh ingredients such as mushrooms and tofu will enhance the flavor of the soup.

Are there any health benefits to eating hot and sour soup?

Yes, hot and sour soup has several health benefits. The soup contains mushrooms, which are high in antioxidants and can boost the immune system. The vinegar in the soup can aid digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, the soup is low in calories and can aid in weight loss.

What gives hot and sour soup its distinctive dark components?

The dark components in hot and sour soup are typically black fungus and wood ear mushrooms. These ingredients not only add a unique flavor and texture to the soup but also have several health benefits. If you want to add seafood to the soup, you can use shrimp or scallops to enhance the taste.