Chinese Hot and Sour Soup


  • 5 ounces trader joe’s red argentine shrimp, deveined, butterflied.
  • one package of trader joe’s dried mushroom medley.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 dried lily buds* (sometimes called golden needles)
  • 1/2 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots*, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips (from an 8-oz can)
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • a block of firm tofu, rinsed and drained, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens
  • 2 tablespoons fresh whole cilantro leaves


Soak mushrooms in 3 cups boiling-hot water in another bowl (water should cover mushrooms),until softened, about 30 minutes. Cut out and discard stems from mushrooms, then squeeze excess liquid from caps into bowl and thinly slice caps. Remove mushrooms from bowl, reserving liquid, and trim off any hard nubs. . Stir together 3/4 cup mushroom-soaking liquid (discard remainder) with cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.

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.

Cover bamboo shoots with cold water by 2 inches in a small saucepan, then bring just to a boil (to remove bitterness) and drain in a sieve.

Stir together vinegars, light soy sauce, sugar, and salt in another small bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat sides. Add shrimp and stir-fry about 1 minute, then add mushrooms, tree ears, lily buds, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry 1 minute.

Add broth and bring to a boil, then add tofu. Return to a boil and add vinegar mixture. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to broth and return to a boil, stirring. (Liquid will thicken.) Reduce heat to moderate and simmer 1 minute.

Beat eggs with a fork and add a few drops of sesame oil. Add eggs to soup in a thin stream, stirring slowly in one direction with a spoon. Stir in white pepper, then drizzle in remaining sesame oil and divide among 6 to 8 bowls. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro before serving.


Holy crap for crap!


This was seriously, seriously good. The perfect soup base, with the ground white pepper providing all of the warmth. Not really heat, just warmth. I never thought I could cook a meal without onions, ginger, or garlic, but this has none of them and is still amazingly savory and delicious.

One of the very best soups I’ve ever eaten.


I think I’m going to go get another bowl of it right now.


Also, seriously easy to do vegan, just skip the shrimp.

Or go the other way, and use pork or chicken or both.


Next time I catch cold I am making one hundred gallons of this and I’m dropping in a tablespoon of sambal olek into every bowl I eat.


Go make this, right fucking now.





4 thoughts on “Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

  1. yobobe says:

    dear you…thank you for feeding me so well and for so long.

  2. That’s what she said.



  3. Mom says:

    I’m making this for our health tomorrow. I will use chicken rather than shrimp. Do you buy the golden needles at the Chinese shop in SLO? Do you remember having this soup in Taiwan? Serious soup. Mom

    • I don’t remember having it in taiwan. I probably turned my nose up at it then.

      And I skipped the golden needles when I made it, but I think they do have them at the Chinese market in SLO.

      Still plenty good without, although better medicine with them.

      hope you like it as much as I do!


      yr son

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: