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Under 30 Minutes

Hot and Sour Soup

White pepper is traditional in hot and sour soup but black pepper makes a fine substitute.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups soup
Hot and Sour Soup

Photography: Bryan Gardner


  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3/4 cup canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained and cut into matchsticks
  • 7 ounces soft tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. In a small bowl, soak mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water until softened, using a plate to keep mushrooms submerged, about 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms, reserving mushroom liquid, and thinly slice. In another small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 4 tablespoons water.

  2. In a medium saucepot, add mushrooms and mushroom liquid to chicken broth. Pour mushroom liquid carefully to leave behind grit (or strain it). Bring chicken broth, mushrooms, mushroom liquid, soy sauce, and pepper to a simmer covered. Add bamboo shoots, tofu, and scallions, reserving 4 tablespoons sliced green tops; simmer 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat and add egg while stirring soup. Serve topped with remaining scallion.

Reviews (5)

  • turtlebutt158 28 Apr, 2014

    All I can say is....THANK YOU! I no longer need to make a trip to my favorite chinese restaurant for this soup! I did not have the mushrooms called for, so I just sliced up several button mushrooms and it turned out GREAT! Have made this several times already!

  • ShannonTD 18 Apr, 2013

    This recipe was simple and delicious. Tasted just like take-out! I used the full teaspoon of white pepper and found it a bit too spicy for my taste. I'd probably start with a half teaspoon next time and work my way up if it needed it.

  • poboxmoe 10 Apr, 2013

    We can't eat out at Chinese restaurants due to food allergies. This recipe was tasted like what we would get in a restaurant. It was so delicious, easy to make and beautiful in presentation. Thank you so much! (I used firm tofu because it holds up better.)

  • tinachris 5 Apr, 2013

    I noticed the recipe calls for soft tofu, while Sarah mentions firm tofu. Is this just personal preference? Will the recipe work with either?
    Please advise - Thanks.

  • cburg59 5 Apr, 2013

    I love hot and sour soup. Other recipes I've tried were more complicated ingredient-wise, so I stopped making it. This recipe was simple, easy, and tasty. I had dried black fungus in my pantry, so I soaked the fungus along with the shiitakes before adding to the soup. The print recipe calls for soft tofu, I used firm. I usually add pork but the texture of the fungus, tofu, and mushrooms totally made up for the fact that there was no meat in the soup. My new Hot and Sour soup recipe. Thanks.

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