Joanne Chang's Hot and Sour Soup

By • December 25, 2013 • 80 Comments

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Author Notes: Restaurants and recipes for hot & sour soup invariably use cornstarch as a thickener, but it doesn't have to be that way. Yes, cornstarch plumps up the broth, but in doing so puts a hazy, viscous layer between us and the sour, spicy sting we crave. Chang's version is thickened with egg instead and makes a number of other smart updates without compromising what we love about the classic. From Flour, Too (Chronicle Books, 2013).Genius Recipes

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 4 cups store-bought or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 pound soft or firm tofu (not silken and not extra firm), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced (or substitute dried, rehydrated wood ear mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cups rice vinegar, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish
  1. In the saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. You want to break up the pork into smaller pieces with a spoon, but don’t worry about breaking it down completely or cooking it through.
  2. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The soup may take on a slightly different appearance, but it will taste just the same.)

Comments (80) Questions (0)


7 days ago Katherine McKay

I use chiken instead of ground pork and don't use the hot sauce at all. It's still delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


11 days ago T-Rex

Great recipe. I used sambal instead of sriracha. Added some shelled edamame for a nutritional boost, too. Thank you!


about 1 month ago Nyborg

I used toasted sesame oil.


about 1 month ago Joani b

When the recipe calls for sesame oil, do they mean toasted sesame oil? I found that flavor a bit overpowering so I bought plain sesame oil but am surprised at how bland it is. Which is the intended ingredient?


about 1 month ago RavensFeast

This recipe is so delightful! I started using Chinkiang black vinegar in place of the rice vinegar and love it even more. It gives a wonderful depth of flavor. Thanks for sharing.


about 1 month ago DessertByCandy

The flavor is spot on. Hot and sour soup is very much about the texture for me so I went with julienned ginger, carrots, shitake mushroom, and pork. I can't get enough of this goodness!


about 1 month ago maryvelasquez

So flavorful! So fast! Grateful to have this recipe in my repertoire. Thank you!


about 1 month ago riegelhaupt1

I think it would be wonderful without pork and don't think the tempeh is necessary. I do think the eggs are important.


about 1 month ago daisybrain

Living in a vegetarian household I am used to adapting lots of recipes to my family's culinary culture. As such I'm wondering if anyone has feelings about using tempeh instead of pork rather than just upping the amount of mushrooms. Believe me I have NO problems using lots of shrooms I'm just wondering if tempeh would hold up and create some additional texture. I'm actually "funny" about tempeh and so don't use it very much but for some reason in this soup it seems like it would fit.


about 1 month ago CelliSean

Maybe grated tempeh (I've never heard about grating it and suddenly there's grated tempeh everywhere)? What I've been doing is using two or more varieties of mushrooms: I'm veggie and BF doesn't like tofu all that much


about 1 month ago daisybrain

I used the tempeh which I cut up into very small pieces and used a little extra oil in the initial sautee to make up for the lack of pork fat. I also used two varieties of mushrooms and plenty of tofu. The soup was hearty and delicious. I too might use a little less vinegar next time. Verdict, tempeh will work if you like that chew.


about 1 month ago CelliSean

Made it again tonight... this time halving the tofu and using a mixture of cremini, shiitake and beech mushrooms. It's a more mushrooms the better household. I've been serving it over mung bean sprouts for a fresh crunch at the bottom of the bowl. I love this soup!


2 months ago Tutti

Amazing!!! Im a vegetarian and didn't use pork. Instead, I added extra mushrooms, and it worked really well! Thank you!


2 months ago Nyborg

Made it last night and it was delicious! Used shiitake mushrooms, and only 12 oz of tofu (1 lb is definitely too much), but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Grass fed pork was very tasty in this. The eggs really make it- they give the soup a perfect viscosity, and they do not make the soup into egg drop as someone suggested.


2 months ago CelliSean

Made this tonight, with a few substitutions: veggie broth for the chicken, forgot to get more scallions, and when I found some beautiful oyster mushrooms at the store, I used them for the pork rather than the fried tofu I was planning on using. Found the freshest of ginger too.... absolutely delicious.


2 months ago riegelhaupt1

This soup is spectacular. Always worried about what was in it from restaurants but this is delicious and good for you too. I too use pasture raised pork and free range eggs. Wonderful flavor — only change was to double recipe.


2 months ago Heidi

This was so wonderful! I have avoided hot and sour soup in restaurants because the tofu and mushrooms were rubbery. The ground pork was a nice addition. The flavors were hot and tangy and all mingled together perfectly. I was worried it wouldn't be filling but one bowl did it! Thank you for this recipe!


2 months ago Swiss Meringue

I made this soup tonight, followed the recipe precisely, and it was lovely - restaurant quality! Yes, the vinegar flavor is up front, but it's what I expected and I found it delicious. I used Animal Welfare Approved pasture raised grass-fed pork and eggs, and I find that makes an enormous difference in any recipe I cook. Perfect soup for a cold winter day!


2 months ago Marie Weber

This is an excellent soup recipe. Comes out great even when I use weird substitutions or even forget ingredients! First time I only had spicy Italian pork sausage, a bit overwhelming but it it still disappeared almost instantly. Then last night I made it again but I forgot the eggs but I had also doubled up on meat and mushrooms to make it last a few more meals. So good!


2 months ago Liesl

I would like the editors to remove some of the really nasty comments here. I hope that can be done.


2 months ago Lui

I hate that people don't understand foreign cooking " I found vinegar over powering " to cooking it's like art , you look a picture and some May find it awesome and others lame , but it's until the moment that you read, experiment , smell and close your eyes feeling , smelling and absorbing inside your the senses of your mouth when you may tease the beauty of the dish , it's offensive , rude and ignorant to comment whe you don't even know the root and flavor of the dish .


2 months ago Molly Carson

I am sorry that you HATE me and think I am offensive, rude and ignorant because I prefer only 1/2 cup vs. 3/4 cup vinegar. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I can't tell you how many times I have ordered General Tso's Chicken at different venues and they taste totally different than the last one I had. I DO understand foreign cooking and cook various dishes quite often, it is one of my favorites! Just recently I found this site and really enjoy the recipes and hopefully your comment is a rouge one. I deeply believe everyone is entitled to their own comments without being called rude, ignorant, offensive and HATED . My goodness, girl, chill!!


2 months ago michele's feast



2 months ago JR

I made this two days ago and I'm very pleased with the result. It is now my second favorite hot and sour soup after the version I get at the Chinese restaurant I grew up with. I prepared it exactly as written with one addition. I included a can of bamboo shoots. It's easy to adjust the spice at the table with a bit more Sriracha. I didn't find the vinegar to be overpowering but it certainly didn't need any more than the recipe calls for in my taste. This is the first recipe I've used off this site and I'll be a frequent visitor. Leftovers for lunch here in just a bit.