Mom's Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour | Active Time: | Makes: 8 servings

It’s actually very easy to make, don’t get put off by the length of the instructions or ingredients. It’s super easy, I just wanted to be very explicit for everyone.
End to end – this should take a little under an hour total.
The pepper, vinegar and soy sauce/salt (basically representing spicy, sour and salty) flavors are really to your personal tastes. So play with various combinations to find the balance you like.

Wood Ear preparation – It’s an Asian mushroom and typically sold dried in Asian markets and I’ve seen it fresh at Whole Foods sometimes too.
If using dried wood ear – you need to reconstitute before cooking. Add 1-2 cups of hot water to dried wood ear. It will only take 10-15 minutes to hydrate and will become much bigger. Once hydrated, squeeze out excess water and pick through the wood ear to remove any hard pieces, just pinch and discard.
If using fresh wood ear, just rinse and pick through and remove any hard pieces.

  • ¼ pound of ground pork (optional if making vegetarian)
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 24 oz water
  • 3-4 tablespoons of dried wood ear* (AKA tree ear) julienned
  • 1/3 can of sliced bamboo shoots julienned (small can like 6-8 oz)
  • 1/3 – ½ package of medium or soft tofu – cut into matchsticks (easiest to leave in plastic container and use knife to cut in the container)
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch and add a little bit of water to make a slurry to thicken the soup
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • Soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar (regular is fine too)
  • Salt
  • White pepper (black is fine too)
  1. Brown ground pork over med-high heat in large soup pot.
  2. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a low boil.
  3. Add wood ear, tofu and bamboo shoots and bring back to a simmer.
  4. Add soy sauce until a more golden brown color (likely about 3-4 tablespoons)
  5. Add apple cider vinegar to taste (likely about 3-4 tablespoons)
  6. Add corn starch slurry and stir into soup
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste (soup should have a little bite to it, which is the white pepper so don’t be too shy with it, about 1-2 tablespoons)
  8. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes (not at a high boil or the tofu will disintegrate)
  9. Take off heat and drizzle scrambled egg into the soup. Drizzle all over the soup, don’t just dump it in; this will make the egg flowers on top.
  10. Add chopped scallions and mix into soup, leave some as garnish to put on top of each serving. People can add more white pepper to their own taste as well.

Member recipes are not tested by the CHOW food team.