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Hot and Sour Szechuan Soup Recipe

Contributors: Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND

Reviewers: Academy Nutrition Information Services Team

Published: January 21, 2016

Reviewed: September 26, 2023

Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, CD

Both hot and sour, this traditional Chinese soup has a unique balance and contrast of flavor. Served as a hot and hearty main dish soup or starter, it has the crisp texture of vegetables and the smoothness of tofu, the umami of mushrooms and sourness of vinegar — along with the rich color from the mushrooms and soy sauce with the spark of green onion garnish.


4 ounces lean pork chop, cut in thin 1-inch strips
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, divided
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
8 ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons water
1 large egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons shredded fresh ginger root (optional)


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. Combine pork with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, sugar and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in a medium bowl. Stir to combine well; set aside for about 15 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add pork, tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and carrot. Cover; return to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile combine remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Blend well to dissolve cornstarch and remove lumps. Add cornstarch mixture to broth as it boils, stirring gently until slightly thickened.
  4. Slowly drizzle the egg into thickened broth, allowing the egg to set into fine strands, about 30 seconds. Gently mix in remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls. Top with green onion and ginger root, if desired.

Cooking Notes

  • Shrimp or ham may be substituted for some or all of the pork. Or, eliminate the pork to make this a meatless soup.
  • If available, 3 ounces dried Chinese mushrooms, such as wood ears, may be used instead of shiitake. Soak in warm water, drain and cut in strips with hard stems removed.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 2 cups
Serves 4

Calories: 260; Calories from fat: 100; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 70mg; Sodium 300mg; Total carbohydrate: 20g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 5g; Protein: 24g

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