Hot & Sour Soup

Hot & Sour Soup


  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried mushroom (“wood ears” or “tree ears”)
  • 1/2 cup dried lily buds (see note)
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots (1/2 can)
  • 4 to six ounces pork shoulder, cut into fine match sticks
  • 1 1/2 quarts, about six cups, Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (2 for the soup, mixed with a small amount of water to form a slurry and one for the pork)
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, cut into small (3/8th inch) dice (1/2 block of tofu)
  • 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallion for garnish


Soak tree ear mushrooms in enough boiling-hot water to cover by an inch, about 30 minutes. Tree ears will expand significantly. Strain, cut into small pieces if large, and trim off and discard any hard nubs.

Meanwhile, soak lily buds in about 1 cup warm water until softened, about 20 minutes, then drain. Trim off tough tips of lily buds. Cut lily buds in half crosswise, then tear each half lengthwise into 2 or 3 shreds.

Rinse bamboo shoots with cold water, drain and cut lengthwise into small match sticks. (This can be a little fussy, try stacking them.)

In a small bowl, toss pork with one tablespoon cornstarch, set aside.

Have all ingredients ready. Bring chicken broth to a simmer, add soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic powder, cayenne pepper.

Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water to form a slurry. Add to soup while stirring to prevent clumping. Toss the pork in cornstarch to the simmering soup along with any loose cornstarch, stirring as is it added. Immediately add tofu, then add the mushrooms, daylily buds, and bamboo shoots. The soup should thicken quite quickly, but working fast helps to ensure the thin slivers of pork don’t cook to a hard state.

Add the eggs in a steady stream, very slowly stirring as they are poured in. Turn off heat and right before serving, add the vinegar, sesame oil and white pepper.

Taste and adjust any seasonings to your liking.

Garnish with green onion. Pass a little extra white pepper and vinegar, if desired, for those who wish to add to the soup.


  • If dried mushrooms are not available, sub in the fresh version. If no specialty mushrooms are available, you can get by with thnly sliced button mushrooms.
  • I have often made this without daylily buds (they can be very hard to find) and it is still perfectly good.
  • Note that I have used powdered ginger and garlic both for the intensity of flavor and to keep the broth clear.
  • The vinegar, white pepper, and sesame oil can diminish quickly, so they’re added right before serving.
  • J. Kenji Lopez (link below) recommends dark Chinkiang (a.k.a. Zhenjiang) vinegar – it’s not readily available in my area so I went with his suggested substitutions.
  • Feel free to add your favorite ingredients – or remove any of mine! Sliced button mushrooms, shiitake, thinly sliced carrots, etc.
  • This soup can be made without the pork. I have actually used leftover pork ribs or barbecued pork shoulder in this recipe with fantastic results and ham is great, too.
  • Leftover tofu and bamboo shoots may be used in a stir fry or frozen to make another batch of this soup later.

Keywords: Asian, Bamboo Shoots, Bargain Meal of the Week, Chicken Stock, Eggs, Green Onion, Leftovers, mushrooms, Pork, Pork Shoulder Recipe, Soup, Tofu

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