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Hot and Sour Soup

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20 min


  • 8 Cups Stock
  • 1 Block Tofu
  • 1 Bunch Scallions
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 lb Cremini or your favorite mushrooms
  • 1 Can Bamboo Shoots
  • 2 Large Knobs Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Sambolek Chili Paste
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ Cup White or Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar or Coconut Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Optional)
  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (Optional)
  • Grapeseed Oil for Sauteeing
  • Additional Soy Sauce and Vinegar to Taste


  1. If using chicken, rub the thighs with grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350 for 40 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. Allow to cool and then shred or chop the chicken.
  2. Peel and finely chop or grate the ginger. Wash and de-stem the mushrooms, then slice them thinly. You may discard the stems or slice them to add to the soup.
  3. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chili paste and ginger, and saute until fragrant. Then add roughly 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil and saute the mushrooms until they are brown and soft.
  4. Add all the stock to deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get up any stuck bits.
  5. Add the bamboo shoots, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar then bring the soup to a boil.
  6. Meanwhile cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, finely chop the cilantro and thinly slice the green parts of the scallions.
  7. Whip the eggs with a fork until they’re mixed.
  8. When the soup boils, drop in the tofu and shredded chicken, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  9. Stir in one direction with a spoon and slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a very thin stream.
  10. Taste the soup and add more soy sauce and vinegar as desired.
  11. Garnish the bowls with a generous amount of chopped cilantro and scallions. Enjoy!

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Savannah Says...

  1. Where can I find ingredients like Sambolek Chili Paste?

    1. Don't worry, you won't have to fly to China...
      The Asian section of most grocery stores. Typically it comes in a plastic, clear jar with a green lid. The chili paste will be hotter than most hot sauces so use with caution. Garlic chili paste is usually a little milder and you can use this as well.
  2. Why don’t we just cook the chicken in the soup?

    1. To each their own...
      Great question, you can absolutely do so but it will require you cutting the raw chicken into bites, or pulling out the chicken from the soup to shred it which I think takes longer, but it’s your call. I like to roast the chicken on a foil-lined pan for easy cleanup.
  3. Does it matter what kind of tofu I use?

    1. Keep it firm!
      Not at all, I prefer extra firm so it stays together better while I’m cutting it. But if it falls apart on you, just dump it in! It’s all going to the same place anyways.
  4. Is this dietary friendly?

    1. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Guilt Free!
      Yes! Automatically gluten-free, just leave out the chicken for vegetarians and leave out both the chicken and the eggs for vegans! It has plenty of flavor and protein from the mushrooms and tofu.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

I’ve fallen in love with this soup over the past few months. It is the perfect antidote for when you finally catch that winter cold or when you want to detox from all the holiday feasting but a salad is awfully unappealing on these chilly winter nights.

This soup is packed with protein and nutrients, the tangy vinegar is refreshing and the spice will warm your insides in the most wonderful way. And I forgot to mention this baby can come together in no time, it doesn’t need to simmer for hours like so many soups these days.

The first time I tried hot and sour soup was at my first job when I was seventeen. It was an Asian Fusion restaurant that offered hibachi, sushi, and classics like beef and broccoli.

I was hired as a hostess and I knew nothing about the restaurant industry at all which was fine because the owners of the restaurant apparently didn’t either. In the morning before we opened, the line cooks would make the staff a large platter of lo mein. One of the servers would pour a ladle of the hot and sour soup over her noodles and then add sriracha. And so my love for lo mein, sriracha, and hot & sour soup was born.

Regrettably, the restaurant was poorly managed and closed it’s doors about a year after it opened, I had long since had my fill of their management methods and moved on to the coffee industry. But my appreciation for delicious Asian food remains strong and this soup I must say can hang with the best of them.

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    • Thanks, Manno! Some of your smoked, pork in there would be fantastic!

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