Hot & Sour Soup

One of our favs! It’s a little involved but it is worth the time and effort.


  • ½ – 1 pound of shredded, black bean garlic pork
  • ½ cup fesh (dried will work too) shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots cut into thin strips
  • 1 can of water chestnuts cut into thin strips
  • 2 eggs scrambled
  • 3 tablespoons of chiu chow chili oil
  • 4-6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar (traditionally this would be Chinkiang vinegar but I’ve never had any on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper powder (or 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder for a less spicy dish)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of broth/juice from the black bean garlic pork
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Gently rinse dried shiitake mushrooms if using, dried wood ear mushrooms. Soak each of them with 1.5 to 2 cups boiling water for about 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Slice mushrooms into strips. No matter whether you use fresh or dried shiitake, carefully cut all hint of stem off each mushroom and discard then cut the shiitake into thin strips.
  2. Mix vinegar and pepper into a small bowl. Mix well until the pepper is completely dissolved and set aside.
  3. Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in another bowl until cornstarch is fully dissolved and set aside.
  4. Add the salt to the soy sauce in another bowl and set aside.
  5. Saute minced garlic, ginger and green onion in a pot on medium-high heat in the sesame oil. Add the cup of broth from the meat marinade (see note at end) plus the 4 cups water of vegetable broth (you can use chicken or beef broth too but keep in mind they’ll give the soup a different character/taste) and add the chiu chow chili oil.
  6. Slowly swirl the cornstarch slurry into the soup. Stir to thicken the soup.
  7. Add re-hydrated wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and tofu to the pot, bring back to a simmer. Add soy sauce, stir in and turn heat to medium-low.
  8. Add the shredded pork into the soup, stirring several times to fully mix. Turn heat back up and bring back to a simmer.
  9. Slowly pour in the beaten egg in a single stream, turn off heat and let sit for 20 seconds then stir well. The 20 seconds, sets the egg
  10. Add the vinegar and pepper mixture and stir to mix well.
  11. Serve hot.
Cubed Tofu (very firm)


Make the black bean garlic pork ahead of time in an UltraPot or a crock pot, (pork is more traditional and really good. I find chicken to be a bit bland in this soup and beef is very good but doesn’t blend in with the other flavors as well in my opinion). This is all based on doing each of them with black bean garlic marinade). For people that do not eat meat, just leave the meat out and the soup will be awesome anyway.