You know how I think of soup? Like warm salad I actually want to eat. Think about it - so much veg, all that good broth, a little protein in there - it's pretty healthy! Or so I tell myself because I have made this exact soup three times recently. I started with the mild base Hot and Sour Soup Recipe I shared on Instagram and then decided to take it up a notch.
I knew that for me to make this soup over and over again I needed to rethink the vegetables. While I simply adore buying a cabbage and using a small fraction of it this dish what I adore even more is shortcuts that do not compromise the taste. So for this Easy Hot and Sour Soup Recipe I turned to my old friend Coleslaw Mix. Pause before you judge because it's everything you'd usually put in this soup, but just pre shredded (and inexpensive!)
What other veggies do I put in my Easy Hot and Sour Recipe? Here are some options - as long as you end up with 3 cups overall feel free to use what's handy!
- Shredded Cabbage - or Coleslaw Mix
- Julienned Carrots
- Julienned Peppers
- Red Pepper
- Green Pepper
- Mushrooms - quartered or cut into sixths.
- One Sliced green chili for a kick
- Bamboo shoots (I buy the canned strips)
Protein Options for Hot and Sour Soup
Frankly you can absolutely increase the vegetables and skip the protein. However if you want to add some then any combination of the following three work
- Egg Whites
Flavouring - what Vinegars and Sauces to Use
Hot and Sour soup gets its punchy flavours from a combination of condiments i.e. soy, dark soy, chili sauce, and vinegar. The regular soy sauce is the robust fore note, the dark soy adds a mild yet rich umami to it. The key question is what chili sauce works best? Although I am an avowed fan of Sambal Oelek here (just as with the Singaporean Rice) Sriracha seems to work much better. In terms of vinegar the sharpness of regular vinegar works well here, but you could absolutely use Rice Vinegar instead.
Which Broth or Stock is best for Hot and Sour Soup?
This robust soup is quite forgiving in terms of the broth you use. You can use homemade ones, boullion cubes, stock concentrates - all to good effect. If using a vegetable broth concentrate then I suggest adding 4 cups worth of the concentrate + 2 cups water and tasting before adding more. The reason is often those broths are so strongly flavored that in Hakka recipes they may not always work.
Why does my Soup get watery after I add Cornstarch?
We have all been there. You add your cornstarch, it thickens beautifully and takes on that glorious sheen. Then a few minutes later it's a watery mess and you are confused. The trick my friends is in the heat. If you overcook the broth it will get watery so always add your slurry to simmering soup, but then turn the heat all the way down for it to thicken up (and stay that way).
Wondering what else to serve with this Hot and Sour Soup? This crowd favorite Hakka Beef Chili Dry and some hot white rice are always a great idea!
Hope you enjoy this Easy Hot and Sour Soup and the Beef Chili Dry! Please do rate the soup below by clicking the number of stars you want to give it and tag me in your recreations on Instagram @flourandspiceblog
A Hakka Hot and Sour Soup that's got BIG flavour!
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 green chili (optional)
- ½ lb chicken (250 g, less works too)
- 1 ½ cup coleslaw mix or shredded cabbages
- 1 green pepper thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- ½-3/4 cup mushrooms quartered or cut into sixths
- ½ cup julienned carrots
- 6 cups Broth (any)
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp Asian Style Chili Sauce (I use Sriracha)
- 5 tbsp cornstarch plus ⅓ cup water
- 2 egg whites lightly beaten
- ½ cup soft or medium tofu cut into 1 cm pieces
- ½ cup julienned bamboo shoots
- 8-10 green chilies thinly sliced
- 1 cup vinegar
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
Bring vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan along with the sugar and salt
Snip your green chilies right into it with kitchen shears, simmer for 3-4 minutes and turn off the stove.
Warm the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium high heat
Add the ginger and garlic, let it cook for 30 seconds along with the green chili (if using)
Now add the chicken and saute till it all changes color
Stir in your vegetables and saute for 4-6 minutes until tender crisp
Meanwhile mix your broth together with the other ingredients under Flavored Broth Mix - you can also add it all straight to the pot if that's easier.
Simmer for another five minutes
With the soup on a gentle boil whisk in the cornstarch slurry and turn the heat all the way down stirring while it thickens.
Once it thickens you can turn off the stove and whisk the egg whites in and they'll cook in the residual heat.
Stir in your tofu and bamboo shoots if using and adjust seasoning - you want a spicy kick, sour notes, and that rich umami
Serve with Chili Vinegar
Hot and Sour soup is easily customized - you can use whatever combination of vegetable and protein that suits you and as long as you get to roughly 3 cups of vegetables you will get a hearty healthy soup.