Hot and Sour Soup (30 Minute Recipe)

A Culinary Symphony in a Bowl – Crafting Hot & Sour Soup in Just 30 Minutes

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In the realm of comfort food, few dishes offer the harmonious blend of flavors found in Hot & Sour Soup. A steaming bowl of this soul-warming elixir brings together the contrasting notes of heat and tang, creating a symphony that dances on your taste buds. Join me in the kitchen as we embark on a culinary journey to craft a bowl of Hot & Sour Soup, a melody of comfort ready in just 30 minutes. This isn’t just a recipe; it’s a poetic celebration of quick, flavorful meals that bring joy to the table.

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For the Broth, the Heartbeat of the Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, the liquid canvas on which our flavors will unfold
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, the salty undertone that adds depth
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, the tangy note that brightens the soup
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, the fiery spark that ignites the heat
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, the nutty richness that elevates the broth
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated, the aromatic essence that infuses warmth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, the savory backdrop that enhances every sip

For the Soup Base, the Hearty Ensemble:

  • 8 oz firm tofu, cubed, the protein-rich pillar of our soup
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced, the earthy undertone that adds depth
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, julienned, the crisp bite that provides texture
  • 1/2 cup wood ear mushrooms, soaked and sliced, the chewy addition for authenticity
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, the additional layer that seasons our ingredients
  • Salt and white pepper to taste, the nuanced seasoning that ties everything together

For Garnish, the Culinary Crescendo:

  • Green onions, sliced, the vibrant finish that adds a burst of color
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, the herbal garnish that completes the ensemble


For the Culinary Choreography:

  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a gentle simmer—the prelude to our flavorful symphony.
  2. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic to the broth—a fragrant overture that fills the kitchen.
  3. Stir in tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and wood ear mushrooms—the hearty ensemble that will make our soup substantial.
  4. Season with additional soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste—the delicate balance that ensures perfection.
  5. Allow the soup to simmer for 20–25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld—a savory interlude that builds anticipation.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, ensuring a harmonious balance of hot and sour elements.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnishing with green onions and fresh cilantro—the culinary crescendo that elevates our creation.

Cook Notes:

  • For added heat, increase the amount of chili garlic sauce.
  • Adjust the sourness by adding more rice vinegar if desired.


Seafood Serenade:

  • Enhance the soup with a medley of seafood such as shrimp, crab, or fish for a maritime twist.

Egg Drop Elegance:

  • Drizzle beaten eggs into the simmering soup, creating delicate ribbons for a luxurious touch.

Keto Versions:

Cauliflower Cadence:

  • Substitute tofu with cauliflower florets for a low-carb alternative that adds a hearty bite.

Keto-Friendly Flourish:

  • Thicken the soup with xanthan gum or almond flour for a keto-approved texture.

Low Carb Versions:

Zoodle Zenith:

  • Replace traditional noodles with zucchini noodles for a low-carb option that maintains a delightful slurp.

Low-Carb Mushroom Medley:

  • Experiment with a mix of low-carb mushrooms like cremini or oyster for a diverse flavor profile.

As you savor a spoonful of this Hot & Sour Soup, you’re not just tasting a bowl of warmth; you’re experiencing a symphony—a melody of flavors that dance in harmony. Let this soup be a celebration of quick, flavorful meals that bring joy to your table, a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most profound joy arises from the simplest notes.

May your kitchen be filled with the fragrance of simmering broth and the echoes of delighted slurps. Whether enjoyed as a comforting lunch or a soul-soothing dinner, let this Hot & Sour Soup be a reminder that the act of creating something quick and flavorful is a profound expression of care and joy.

May each sip bring you a moment of pure happiness and a taste of the poetic beauty that resides in the heart of every lovingly crafted creation. Happy cooking!

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