Asian Hot-and-Sour Soup

I first ate Chinese hot-and-sour soup a few months ago at a pot luck lunch, and was intrigued by the flavour combinations…and the fact that it included shiitake mushrooms.  So I was very pleased to find this recipe in a new cookbook I bought at the Guelph Organic Conference, called “Asian Fusion, A Culinary Odyssey of Vegan Recipes” (highly recommend!)

Now I have always believed that recipes are guidelines.  That is, if you are missing one or more of the ingredients, it is perfectly okay to change the recipe, to accommodate what ingredients you have at home, or to suit your personal tastes.  I am posting the recipe as originally found in the cookbook, with notes below on the changes I made.

From the book: “Most Chinese soups are a clear, plain broth, similar to consomme.  Hot-and-sour soups are mainly featured in Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Thai and Vietnamese.  The sour taste comes from rice vinegar and the heat comes from ground white pepper.  Chinese white pepper can be surprisingly very hot; too much can be overwhelming and can make a dish inedible.”


Sayun Laat Tong (Hot-and-Sour Soup)

4 – 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced into thin strips

4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips*

1/2 cup sliced carrot, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

2 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine or sherry*

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. light soy sauce*

1 tsp. ground white pepper*

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup firm tofu, well drained and diced

1/4 cup rich soymilk, for a cloudy white soup (optional)


* Adaptations:  Instead of bamboo, I minced 1/2 cup of fresh kale, and I used leeks rather than onion.   I used Mirin for the rice wine and organic Tamari sauce for the soy sauce, both available at Harmony Whole Foods in Orangeville.  I only had black pepper, so to give some extra “heat”, I finely minced about 1/2 tsp. of fresh ginger.  I did not have any tofu or soymilk.

“Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a pot, over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrot, and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the wine, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and salt and bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the tofu and optional soymilk.  Cook uncovered for 2 minutes longer.  Taste and add more soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper, if needed.  serve immediately.”

The combination of heat and sour was delicious, and a wonderful change from the soups I have been making lately (chowders and typical “comfort food” types of soups).  This zesty soup will heat you up and tingle your tastebuds.  In addition, you’re getting the benefits of the shiitake mushrooms and ginger, to boot.  The only suggestion I would make is to DOUBLE the recipe, lol!  This recipe makes about 3 soup bowls full, although the cookbook says “feeds 6”.

I am so grateful that we can all share each others’ diverse cultures – and food – in a true fusion style!  Enjoy!







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