Hot-and-Sour Soup

hot-sour-soup Rita Maas


  • 4 dried Chinese (or shiitake) mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tree ears, optional
  • 4 cups canned chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lean pork (from a center-cut pork chop), cut into julienne strips
  • 1 block firm tofu (about 4 ounces), rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup matchstick-cut canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg, well-beaten
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions


In a small bowl, soak mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry; reserve soaking liquid. Cut off and discard stems; slice caps thinly. In a small bowl, soak the tree ears (if using) in 1/2 cup hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry. Remove any hard spots, and roughly chop the tree ears. Discard the soaking liquid.

In a large saucepan, combine broth, 1 cup water, vinegar, and reserved mushroom liquid; bring to a boil over high heat. Add pork, mushrooms, tree ears, tofu, and bamboo shoots.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons cold water. When soup returns to a boil, stir in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until soup is just thickened (about 30 seconds). Stir in egg, and remove from heat. Stir in the oil, white pepper, sugar, and scallions.

    Any cut of lean pork can be used to make this soup. Think of the meat as a condiment--use just enough for flavor and texture. Chicken can also be substituted, if desired. You can adjust the heat and sourness to taste by increasing or decreasing the vinegar and pepper.
  • Yield: serves 4

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 167
Fat per serving: 7g
Saturated fat per serving: 2g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 2g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 13g
Carbohydrate per serving: 14g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Cholesterol per serving: 70mg
Iron per serving: 1mg
Sodium per serving: 318mg
Calcium per serving: 57mg

Good to Know

Tofu is a great source of soy protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It's also an excellent way to get iron, which is why it's prominent in vegetarian diets.