hot and sour vegetarian soup

Chinese Hot and Sour Vegetarian Soup


I love, love, love soup and hot and sour vegetarian soup is one of my favorites.

After quite a few unsuccessful attempts at making this with just poultry or purely vegetarian (traditionally it’s made with pork) I finally came up with a good recipe. If you are ready to get started bringing mindfulness into the kitchen here is a recipe with plenty of chopping, fragrant sizzling vegetables, and enticing aromas to energize your kitchen.


This hot and sour soup is a great cold weather dish. I don’t just mean when the weather is cold, but when it gets to be the season when people start coming down with colds and flu.


The salty, sour, and spicy flavor components are all flavors that are tasted through the tongue.

This means that when your “smeller” is off you can still taste the vibrant flavors in this soup and the spicy heat helps clear the sinuses. I’ve included some alternate ingredients if you don’t have access to some of the more exotic ones.

Feel free to add other veggies like shredded carrots or bean sprouts or even leftover rice or noodles. This recipe makes a very thick soup. If you like it thinner and brothier keep the mushroom soaking liquid and add that in till you get a consistency you like.


Ingredients for Hot And Sour Vegetarian Soup


  • 10 dried lily buds or ¼ cup finely shredded cabbage
    5 dried shiitake mushrooms
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 stalks scallions, minced, plus more for garnish
    1 tablespoon ginger, minced
    1 quart vegetable stock
    8 ounces firm tofu, diced
    1/2 cup bamboo shoots or celery, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup white vinegar or Chinese black vinegar, plus more to taste
    2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more to taste
    1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    Fresh ground black pepper
    4 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    Chili oil or minced hot pepper according to taste




Step 1

In a small bowl, cover the shiitake mushrooms with boiling water and let stand 20 minutes. Next add lily buds (if using) and let stand until softened, about 10 more minutes.

Reserve 2 tablespoons soaking liquid. Test stems of shiitakes for hard spots, chop them off and discard. Rinse and chop remaining buds and mushrooms.


Step 2

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the garlic, scallions, celery (if using), cabbage (if using)and ginger, cook and stir for 1 minute.


Step 3

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.

Add the lily buds, mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots (if using), vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper to the pot.

Return the soup to a simmer. Whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons mushroom soaking liquid together until smooth. Whisk mixture into soup pot.

Add the eggs stirring in a circular motion, and stir gently in one direction until the eggs form strands and are cooked, about 30 seconds. Note if you don’t stir in one direction the eggs will get clumpy.


Step 4

Add more vinegar and soy sauce to taste. Divide into bowls and garnish with the scallions. Serve the hot sour vegetarian soup with chili oil.



Lily buds, shiitake mushrooms, chili oil, and Chinese black vinegar are available at Asian grocery stores. It’s worth trying to find lily buds as they really make the hot and sour vegetarian soup taste authentic.


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Belinda is a writer, editor, explorer, cook and gardener. She loves to travel and goes wherever frequent flyer miles will take her. When she is not roving round the planet, diving in the sea, or skiing down a mountain she might be found working in her impractically large vegetable garden or sitting amidst a stack of cookbooks concocting ideas for some crazy new thing to cook in the kitchen. She has practiced yoga for twenty years and two years ago started a meditation practice, which is still very much a work in progress. She lives in Northern California.

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