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Chinese hot and sour soup

26 October 2016

A spicy and sour soup recipe from the Sichuan province of China.

Hot and sour soup
Hot and sour soup

Preparation time

40 minutes

Cooking time

15 minutes




  • 4 dried black mushrooms
  • ¼ cup (1/8 oz/5 g) dried black fungus
  • 3 ½ oz/100 g lean pork, cut into strips
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cornflour
  • 7 oz/200 g firm tofu, drained
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (3½ oz/100 g) sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 2 tablespoons water chestnut flour or cornflour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 tablespoons red vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups (11 oz/300 g) cooked egg or rice noodles (optional)
  • Coriander, to garnish (optional)


Put the mushrooms and black fungus into two separate bowls, cover with cold water, and soak for at least 20 minutes, or until softened. Drain both. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry, and discard the stems. Thinly slice, then set aside. Tear the black fungus into small pieces.

Combine the pork, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the cornflour in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the tofu, ¼ teaspoon salt, and enough cold water to cover and soak for 15 minutes. Drain, cut into thin strips, and set aside.

Bring 4¼ cups (34 fl oz/1 liter) water to a boil in a large saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar. Put in the mushrooms, black fungus, and bamboo shoots. Drop the pieces of pork, using chopsticks to gently disperse them to prevent sticking. Do not stir.

Mix the water chestnut flour with 4 tablespoons water in a small bowl, stir until dissolved, and pour slowly into the soup, stirring continuously. Add the tofu and reduce to medium-low heat.

Hold a strainer (sieve) over the soup and slowly pour the beaten eggs into the strainer. At the same time, move the strainer in a circular motion over the soup so that the beaten egg is strained into the soup in a continuous line. Let sit for 1 minute, do not stir.

Stir in the vinegar and white pepper, then add the sesame oil. Divide the noodles, if using, among the bowls. Ladle over the hot soup and garnish with coriander, if using. Serve.

This recipe is extracted from China The Cookbook by Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan, published by Phaidon, RRP £29.95

Visit our Asian recipe section for more delicious Chinese recipes, as well as recipes from Vietnam, Korea and Japan.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.