Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup is an old favourite for most people who frequent Peking and Sichuan restaurants. It is one of the few Chinese thick soups. There are a number of different recipes, but they are all made hot and sour by the addition of vinegar and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

1/4 lb (100 g) pork or chicken
1 cake bean curd
3-4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked
1 pint (600 ml) good stock
1 tbsp rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornflour


Thinly shred the pork, beancurd and the mushrooms. Bring the stock to a rolling boil, add the pork, bean curd and mushrooms, simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add wine, soy sauce, pepper, vinegar and salt. Now blend the cornflour with a little cold water to make a smooth paste, pour into the soup slowly, stirring all the time. Serve as soon as the soup thickens.

A small amount of finely shredded bamboo shoots and a lightly beaten egg may be added to the soup in order to make it into an even thicker and more substantial dish.

© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.