Hot and Sour Soup with Silken Tofu

Hot and Sour Soup

This Chinese dish was a childhood favorite of mine.  I love the mildly spicy, salty and sour broth strewn with egg drops.  Diving into it was a treasure hunt.  What would I find?  A bit of pork, a crunchy bamboo shoot, chewy black fungus or the elusive prawn?  Living in China, I was always on the lookout for that soup. Once or twice, I even came across it at the odd banquet dinner but alas, as it remained elusive, I had to learn how to make my own.

Black vinegar and white pepper

The key to a good Hot and Sour soup are the ingredients you add in at the end, namely the vinegar and white pepper.  The black vinegar provides the sour flavor and the white pepper powder brings a mild heat.  Hence the hot and sour.  You can try to substitute Chinese black vinegar with a more convenient rice vinegar but if you really want your soup to shine, invest in some authentic Chinese ingredients.  I do what I can by ordering my sauces, fermented black beans, Chinese vinegar, dried chilis and other spices online.  You know, the necessary ingredients.

Tofu skins

Being that I am currently so far away from Asia, ingredients such as lily bulbs, enoki mushrooms and black fungus are not as easily accessible as they once were which is why I did not add them to this recipe.  However, if you can find them and love them, add them to the broth for a more authentic Chinese soup.  If it is too much hassle, just leave it out.  It is every bit as good.

Read more  How To Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho | The Food Lab

One ingredient that I can find fine and order with ease are tofu skins which is great because I LOVE tofu skins.  I love the chewy softness when you bite into them and how they soak up flavors like chili and soy sauce like a dream.  For me, they are a pantry must-have.  If you are familiar with this type of tofu and feel the same way, add them to the soup.  If obtaining them is more of a hassle to you, omit them from the recipe.

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As it is with most Asian recipes, the majority of the work lies in the preparation. Gather your ingredients and prep all ingredients.
Buy online or visit your local Asian Grocer for dried tofu skins.
If using tofu skins, soak in a bowl according to directions on the package.
Soak until they blossom.
Drain from water and set aside.

Marinate pork strips in 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Sherry along with 1 tsp of cornstarch, a sprinkling of sea salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar.
In a large pot, bring to boil over high heat chicken broth, sliced ginger and chopped white scallions.
Once at a boil, add skins, silken tofu, bamboo shoots, sliced shitake mushrooms and chopped red chili. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.
Add soy sauce and stir. Cook for a minute or so then add cornstarch mixed with water.
Add marinated pork and cook for 4 minutes on a steady simmer. Add beaten eggs in slowly, stirring soup as you go. Cook for a minute or so.
Turn off heat and add 1 tsp of white pepper powder dissolved in black vinegar.


More delicious Chinese soups to hastily gobble up:

Niurou Lamian (Chinese Beef Noodle Soup)


Chinese Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup with Bak Choy

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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.