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Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

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  • 1 oz dried Wood ear mushrooms (also known as “black fungus mushrooms”) – You can purchase these as precut strips or whole (usually sold in a vacuum-sealed bag). Precut or whole, either option is fine, but I find it more convenient to use the precut kind. I used wood ear mushrooms like the ones found here.
  • 1 oz dried shitake mushrooms
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb – 1 lb of pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsps canola oil
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, thinly sliced – I use the ones in the can and rinse them first
  • 1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 large eggs, beaten and set aside until needed
  • 3 tbsps cornstarch combined with 1/2 cup of water, combined so there are no lumps
  • 1 bunch of green onions, green parts chopped and set aside for garnish

For the bouquet garni:
These ingredients are placed into a bouquet garni (cheesecloth bundle) and simmered in the chicken broth. Please see the notes section below for more details. 

  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch of green onions 
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • cheesecloth, to bundle the ingredients with – if you don’t have cheesecloth, please see my note at the bottom of this recipe

For the soup flavouring:

  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (you can use more if you like it really spicy) –
    It’s the jar with the green lid and chicken logo on it, sometimes called sambal oelek. You can find this in most grocery stores these days, found near the Sriracha hot sauce.
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
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  1. Boil the mushrooms in water for at least 30 minutes or until softened. Drain water from the mushrooms and allow them to cool. You can go about the other steps of the recipe while waiting. Cut mushrooms into thin strips and set aside until needed.
  2. I do this simultaneously as I rehydrate the mushrooms on another stove burner to keep things as quick as possible. Make a bouquet garni or cheesecloth pouch (see notes at the bottom of the recipe) using garlic, yellow onion, green onions and the 12 black peppercorns. Place the bouquet garni/cheesecloth pouch with ingredients into a large soup pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Pull the bouquet garni out of the broth and allow it to drain in a strainer over the pot for a few minutes. We need to keep those tasty liquids! You can use a ladle to push and squeeze out more yummy flavours. 
    Simmer the chicken broth on low until needed.
  3. In a large frying pan or skillet, sear the strips of pork in canola oil. Make sure to brown up the sides on the strips to bring out more flavour. Be careful not to burn them, though. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside until needed.
  4. Next to the pan, add the rice vinegar/soup flavouring mixture from the ingredients section above. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add this mixture into the soup pot with the chicken broth, combine. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, cooked pork and cornstarch mixture. Combine and heat on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. 
  5. In this step, we add the egg ribbons. To do this, stir the soup clockwise while VERY VERY slowly adding the beaten eggs. Pour the eggs slowly while whisking fast– the eggs should be cooking as tiny ribbons in the broth, not chunks of egg. 
  6. Serve immediately, with garnishes of green onions on top. 

Recipe adapted from Dinner, then Dessert


What is a bouquet garni? – A bouquet garni is a pouch made from cheesecloth and filled with seasonings, veggies, etc., to flavour broth, etc. This allows you to infuse the flavours of the ingredients into the broth without having to leave the physical pieces behind. To make a bouquet garni, all you have to do is wrap cheesecloth around the required ingredients, make sure there are no opens, so nothing falls out, tie a knot and add it to your broth while simmering. I like to clip the bouquet garni to the pot, so it’s easily removed.

Hot and Sour SoupWhen removing the bouquet garni, it’s a good idea to put it in a strainer over the pot, so all the yummy concentrated flavours go back into the pot. You can give the bouquet a little squeeze with a ladle to push out more flavoured broth. 

What to do if you don’t have cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni – You can place the ingredients for the bouquet garni directly in the broth and simmer according to the recipe. Once it’s time to remove them, fish everything out using a slatted spoon or similar tool. You broth should be clear and have no bits of anything left behind.

To make Vegetarian/Vegan- Substitute chicken stock for vegetable broth and exclude the pork tenderloin. To make vegan, skip the eggs. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Chinese