This Hot and Sour Soup is a Chinese restaurant classic which takes only 30 minutes!
Chinese New Year
As a child, my mother went to great lengths each year to prepare a Chinese New Year feast which could feed our entire neighbourhood.
The menu always featured a sticky rice cake filled with mung beans and pork, a Chinese Turnip Cake, endless platters of spring rolls (egg rolls), roast pork with gorgeously seasoned crackling – all served with fresh vermicelli noodles, picked carrots and daikon, and an abundance of fresh salad and herbs.
There was always a soup on the menu, too; often a light chicken broth with bamboo shoots.
Each dish had a significance and the ingredients were always carefully chosen to welcome luck and prosperity into the family.
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
I make a Vietnamese Chicken Pho throughout the year, so to do something a bit different for Chinese New Year, I like to make a Chinese hot and sour chicken soup, which includes bamboo shoots to symbolise wealth.
You might recognise this soup from many Chinese restaurants – there is something addictive about the tangle of hot, sour and spicy notes in this soup, and I find it to be a nourishing and comforting soup no matter the time of the year.
Hot and Sour Soup Recipe
You could add whatever vegetables you like to this hot and sour soup, although I like to keep it simple by using a mixture of mushrooms – the type and how many depends on what I can find at the markets.
You could even make a vegetarian version of this soup by using vegetable stock and adding cubes of silken tofu towards the end of cooking.
If you are serving this soup to children, I would suggest leaving the chillies out and to, instead, serve some freshly chopped chillies on the side for the adults.
I would suggest using the recipe below merely as a blueprint as you will find that it can accommodate a lot of variation here and there.
More Chinese Recipes
If you are looking for more Chinese recipes, perhaps even for Chinese New Year, you might like:Print
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: Serves 3 to 4
- Category: Soups
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Chinese
This Hot and Sour Soup is a Chinese restaurant classic which tastes even more delicious homemade!
- 1–2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
- 2 small chicken breast fillets (about 200-300g (7-10oz) total weight)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2–3 red chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
- 100g (3.5oz) fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 100g (3.5oz) oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4–6 tablespoons rice vinegar (or to taste)
- 200g (7oz) tinned & sliced bamboo shoots
- 3–4 tablespoons cornflour (US: cornstarch)
- spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
- coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- In a large saucepan which will take all of the ingredients later, heat the oil.
- Cook the chicken breast fillets until lightly golden on each side.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and leave to rest on a plate.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the ginger, garlic and chillies.
- Stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they have softened.
- Add the chicken stock, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and rice vinegar.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken breast fillets and add them to the soup, along with the sliced bamboo shoots.
- Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) with some cold water to make a slurry.
- Slowly add slurry to the soup while stirring the soup at the same time to avoid lumps in the soup. The soup should have a slightly thickened consistency. Keep adding more slurry to the soup until you have the desired thickness; if your soup is too thick, simply thin it with some boiling water from a kettle.
- Taste the soup for seasoning. You may wish to add some more soy sauce and/or rice vinegar.
- Serve with a generous sprinkle of spring onions and coriander (cilantro).
As mentioned above, you can add whatever vegetables you like to this soup. Some suggestions include finely shredded Chinese cabbage, sliced green beans, or diced capsicums (bell peppers).
MAKE IT VEGETARIAN
For a vegetarian version, simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, and omit the chicken. Fresh or firm tofu is a delicious alternative to meat in this recipe.
ADD AN EGG
For a more substantial soup, beat 1 egg in a small bowl. While the soup is simmering, slowly pour in the beaten egg, but make sure you stir the soup quickly so that the egg forms thin ribbons in the soup.
For a quick short-cut, replace the chicken breast fillets in this recipe with shredded rotisserie chicken (barbecued chicken). Add this to the soup in Step 9.
- Serving Size: Serves 3 to 4
- Calories: 287
- Sugar: 9.6g
- Sodium: 1289.1mg
- Fat: 9.5g
- Carbohydrates: 24.4g
- Fiber: 2.1g
- Protein: 25.3g
- Cholesterol: 47.3mg
This recipe was first published on 3 February 2016. It has been updated with more comprehensive recipe notes.