Easy Hot and Sour Soup is a broth-based soup loaded with pork tenderloin, mushrooms, tofu, carrots, bamboo shoots, eggs, vinegar, and white pepper. It provides the perfect amount of tang and spice. You might also want to try my Egg Drop Soup.
What is Hot and Sour Soup?
Hot and Sour Soup, also known as Hulatang, Pepper Hot Soup, or suan la t’ang is from the Sichuan region of China and is named because of both its spicy and tangy flavors. I was inspired by the recipe from Red House Spice. The white vinegar adds sourness whereas the white pepper adds a little heat. It is a hearty soup that is not too difficult to make, except for the chopping and slicing.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Pork: Thinly slice the pork tenderloin so you have about 3/4 cup of pork strips. The protein adds a little more substance to the soup. However, you could substitute any lean meat like chicken or turkey. Or, leave out the meat altogether and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth for a vegetarian soup.
Mushrooms: We like shiitake mushrooms for this soup. But, you could also use baby Bella or white mushrooms if those are easier for you to find. The traditional hot and sour soup uses a combination of dried mushrooms which have to be soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes and have the hard ends cut off before using.
Tofu: Look for firm tofu, which will hold its shape better in the soup. If you do use soft tofu, make sure you are stirring the soup very gently. If you are not adding any meat, simply replace it with more tofu.
Vegetables: I added carrots and bamboo shoots to give the soup more substance. You can always add more of your favorite vegetables, too. Try adding cabbage or bell peppers to the mix!
Eggs: The beaten eggs are dropped into the soup like in egg drop soup.
Vinegar: White distilled vinegar adds tang, or sourness to the soup. Add more after tasting the soup, if preferred. You could also use Chinese black vinegar.
Pepper: Use white pepper in this recipe. I do not recommend substituting black pepper; white pepper adds more heat than black pepper.
Can I Make this Soup Ahead of Time?
I would not recommend making the soup and then storing it before serving as it is best served fresh. However, you could get all the chopping done ahead of time. Store the chopped pork and vegetables in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
How to Store Hot and Sour Soup
Once made, this soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to reheat, it’s best to heat it up slowly on the stovetop. I actually heated up a bowl in the microwave and enjoyed it that way, too! Just be aware that it may not be quite as flavorful as when eaten right away and the texture will be a bit different.
Easy Hot and Sour Soup
- 6 ounces pork tenderloin, very thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 8 cups (1.92 kg) chicken broth
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced (about 3 cups sliced)
- 8 ounces firm tofu, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
- 1 can (8 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained and very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
- ¼ cup (62.5 g) water
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup (79 g) distilled white vinegar, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped for garnish
- In a medium bowl combine pork, water, cornstarch, and oil. Toss to coat and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Next, add the pork and cook, stirring frequently to separate the meat, until it is cooked through (60-90 seconds). Skim off any foam that has formed on the top of the soup.
- Add mushrooms, tofu, carrots, bamboo shoots, and soy sauce. Gently stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring the soup to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. While gently stirring the soup, slowly drizzle in the cornstarch slurry to prevent clumping. The soup will begin to thicken slightly and become silky after 7-8 minutes.
- Once the soup is simmering (it should be bubbling before you add the egg or your soup will turn cloudy), slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs in a thin stream and gently swirl.
- Remove the soup from heat and gently stir in white vinegar, sesame oil, and white ground pepper. Check for flavor and adjust as necessary. More white pepper will make it spicier; more vinegar will make it sour.
- Serve warm, garnished with green onion.
Did you make this recipe?
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