Hot and Sour Soup

I have to say we love it here in Southern Oregon, but we have (so far) been unable to find a decent Chinese restaurant. In fact those we have tried have quite frankly been borderline terrible. Luckily we have a good Asian market and our trusty wok. Last night, craving a good Hot and Sour Soup, we stopped by the market and they had Lily Flowers and Wood Ear mushrooms (yeah!) which are mainstay ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup. It turned out great.

Note that when you make it yourself you can adjust the amount of heat, salt, and sourness to your liking. The amounts in this recipe are just guidelines. Taste and taste again as you go.

Start by soaking the dry wood ear and lily flowers. They will swell up considerably so take that into account when measuring.

Here is how to add the egg:


Author: Jim Kirkley

Serves: 4

Hot and Sour Soup



1/4 cup, cornstarch – plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup, water
1 tablespoon, red chili paste – (or sambal oelek) to taste
3 oz., ground pork
1/2 teaspoon, oil
1/4 cup, (after soaking) dried lily flower
1/4 cup, (after soaking) wood ears
1/4 cup, mushrooms – cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup, packaged firm tofu
1/4 cup, bamboo shoots
2 eggs
2 scallions
8 cups, chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon, white pepper
2 teaspoon, dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon, soy sauce
1 teaspoon, sesame oil
3 tablespoons, rice vinegar


  1. Soak the dried lily flower and wood ears for an hour or two until hydrated. Once they’re ready, give the wood ears a rough chop. Trim the tough ends off the lily flowers and cut them in half.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch with an equal amount of water and use a spoon to stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Place pork into a bowl with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon oil. Stir it all together.
  4. Cut the firm tofu into 2-inch long and 1/4-inch thick pieces. Slice the winter bamboo shoots into the same shape.
  5. Beat the two eggs in a bowl. Wash and chop the scallion and set aside.
  6. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a wok or pot and add the pork. Stir to ensure the pork is not clumped together.
  7. Add the chili garlic paste pepper, white pepper and both soy sauces, and check the soup for salt. Add the lily flowers, wood ears, mushrooms and bamboo shoots and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the tofu, sesame oil, vinegar and stir. It should start to look and smell like the real thing about now! Taste for heat, salt and sourness and adjust accordingly.
  8. Use a spoon to remix your cornstarch slurry in the bowl so it’s all combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer and use your soup ladle and stir the soup at the center of the wok in steady a circular motion to make a whirlpool while slowly pouring the corn starch slurry in a thin stream. This prevents the cornstarch from clumping. Stop when you are about 3/4 of the way done with your slurry to check the consistency of the soup. It should be thick enough to coat your spoon or ladle. Add the rest if needed.
  9. Keep the soup simmering and use the same technique with the beaten eggs and again, make sure the motion is fast enough or you will end up with egg clumps instead of the beautiful swirls or egg “flowers” (which is what the Chinese call it).
  10. Garnish with the chopped scallions and serve.


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