Hot & Sour soup

I’m looking for an excellent recipe for hot and sour soup. I love it so much, I should be able to make it and have it taste like it does at my favorite Chinese restaurants.
Anybody have a recipe or link to one that’s especially good?

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Quick and delicious.

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That reminds me–back when Chowhound was around, we chose hot and sour soup as dish of the month. I ordered some day lily bulbs and never got around to making it! If you can get those and wood ear mushrooms, you are halfway there.
Here are a couple pages I bookmarked: https://thewoksoflife.com/hot-sour-soup/
https://www.seriouseats.com/hot-and-sour-soup-food-lab

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This used to be my go to recipe:

But earlier this year I found this (one of the best things I have seen an ATK):

I prefer the fresh mushrooms and bamboo shoots instead of carrots. I do prefer the way she cuts her tofu, and sometimes miss the ginger.

Both are serious yum!

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Day lily buds and wood ear tree fungus is essential to the soup, as well as white pepper.

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I have made plenty of hot and sour soup without the lily buds. I was happy when I finally found some because I always wondered how my soup would be improved with them. They were fine. I disagree that they are essential. If someone wants to make this soup don’t let lack of access to lily buds stop you. The wood ear mushrooms feel more essential to me. So are bamboo shoots but I noticed that the recipe linked above does not have them so obviously it is just IMHO.

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One of my best Chinese cookbooks, How to Cook and Eat in Chinese by Buwei Yang Chao, originally published in 1945, has an extremely simple recipe for Hot & Sour Soup. She calls it Sour-Hot Soup. It basically calls for eggs, water, salt, soy sauce, taste powder, corn starch, vinegar, black pepper and “other things”. The other things can include fish, meat, shrimps, bean curd, etc. I have made it and been very happy with it. You’ll have to try out a number of recipes and see what you like best. Why don’t you ask at your favorite restaurants how they make it?

For me, the things you can’t replace are the sesame/chili oils, the Chinese black vinegar, and the white pepper.

Once you get the hang of it, H&S soup can be a throw-together. If you have a ready source of dried mushrooms, fill your pantry with whatever kinds you have. Wood ears, cloud ears, lily buds, shiitake, whatever. Then it’s a matter of rehydrating the 'shrooms, crushing a big knob of ginger, dicing a block of tofu, and putting it all in a pot with stock to simmer with your meat of choice. If you have some bamboo shoots, shred and add. Water chestnuts? Same. Foo jook? Yes, please! For a little bit more of a little bit more, stir in a block or two of fermented tofu. Not enough to overpower the soup, but enough to add depth of flavor.

Just bear in mind that the ‘hot’ traditionally comes mostly from white pepper, not red pepper/sambal/sriracha, etc. Some of the latter is ok, but you really want the bite of the white pepper.

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If you want to try a healthy soup try Khao suey a Burmese delicious soup.

That is a literal translation from Chinese. The name of the soup is sour (suan) hot (la) soup (tang). :laughing: Guess it really is old school. I wonder what they mean by “taste powder” – like a powdered meat stock? It can’t just be MSG, because MSG and water wouldn’t really make a decent soup substitute.

Many chinese recipes do cheat and call for some chicken bouillon powder to punch up flavor, but even that is rare to use large quantity to substitute for real stock in a soup.

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It must be MSG. She only recommends using it when making the soup with water instead of chicken broth.

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I like this one: https://food52.com/recipes/25530-joanne-chang-s-hot-and-sour-soup

That being said, I’m the weirdo who leaves almost all the solids in the bottom of the bowl when I order H&S at a restaurant. I love the taste of the broth, and I’ll eat the pork and egg, but… I don’t like tofu or mushrooms. At a restaurant we used to go to, our server asked why - and then told me next time to order a bowl “not stirred up” from the giant vat in the kitchen!

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