Hot & sour soup is a traditional dish from China which balances the flavors of chili, mushrooms, and vinegar.


  • 1/4 cup wood ear mushrooms (dried and rehydrated)
  • 1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms (dried and rehydrated)
  • 1/4 cup lily flowers (dried and rehydrated) (optional)
  • 2 tsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 6 cups water (filtered or spring water is recommended)
  • 1/2 block (8 ounces) firm tofu, cubed (don’t use soft, as it won’t keep it’s shape)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (to thicken the base)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Other optional ingredients include bamboo shoots or nappa cabbage.

A couple of dried spicy red peppers can be added if you would like a little extra heat. If you choose to add these, then add them at the same time as the rehydrated mushrooms.

If you cannot find these particular dried mushrooms, you could also use a bag of forest mushrooms. It is not recommended to use fresh mushrooms as they do not influence the soup base as much, but you can if necessary.

If you would like to add meat, you could add something such as marinated pork loin or even prawns but this is not always typical or necessary.


  1. Rehydrate the mushrooms and lily flowers.
  2. Slice the mushrooms into strips and remove any tough ends off of the wood ear mushrooms and lily flowers.
  3. Combine the vinegar and white pepper in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Heat your water in a pot over the stove and add the ginger, green onions, rehydrated mushrooms, lily flowers, and tofu for the pot.
  5. Heat to a simmer, add the soy sauce and reduce to a medium-low heat.
  6. Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in a small cup or bowl until the cornstarch dissolves and then add it to the soup.
  7. Slowly stir the cornstarch into the soup until it thickens.
  8. Add the salt to your soup.
  9. Beat your eggs in a cup or bowl and add it to the soup. Keep stirring the soup so the egg remains beaten within the soup.
  10. Remove soup from heat and stir in your vinegar/pepper mixture.
  11. Garnish the hot and sour soup with cilantro and sesame oil.

I would recommend you serve it immediately as the cornstarch can thicken up a little more if eaten as a leftover.