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Chinese Hot and Sour Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms

Chinese hot and sour soup, this version is vegetarian and features shiitake mushrooms, silken tofu, Chinese black vinegar & crispy chilli oil.

This simple soup is both easy and quick to cook, chopping the vegetables should take no more than 10 minutes and cooking takes less than 15 minutes!

Vegetarian Chinese hot and sour soup with tofu, shiitake mushrooms and spring onions.

Chinese Spicy Egg Drop Soup

Hot and sour soup is a perennial favourite on the menus of Chinese restaurants around the world.

I love me a good Chinese fakeaway night and this dish or my Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup is always on the menu.

It is a light soup that features silken tofu, spring onions and shiitake mushrooms, with an egg whisked through it just before serving.

The heat from the recipe comes from one of my favourite ingredients, crispy chilli oil (lao gan ma). I adore this stuff, it gets used in everything from my crispy chilli beef to my leftover roast chicken soup.

The sour element comes from Chinese Chinkiang vinegar which adds a wonderful depth of flavour alongside acidity.

My take on this delicious but gloriously simple dish is vegetarian and cooks in well under 30 minutes, and that includes all of the preparation.

Close-up overhead vegetarian Chinese hot and sour soup garnished with spring onions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use firm or extra firm tofu?

Yes, at a push but it does have a very different texture to silken tofu, I don’t think it is suited to this recipe.

It will also take a little longer to heat through, add an extra minute or two to the cooking time.

Can I use different mushrooms?

Yes, this can be made with any type of mushroom, but I think that the firm texture of shiitake mushrooms is ideal in this recipe.

What is Chinkiang vinegar?

Chinkiang is a Chinese black rice vinegar and it is delicious! The flavour is deeper and richer than regular rice vinegar and it is well worth hunting some down.

I use it in most of my Chinese “fakeaway” recipes, so don’t worry about it languishing in the cupboard. You can substitute it for any rice vinegar if needed.

Do I have to add the MSG?

No, but if you omit it then you are missing out!

Can I make this vegan?

This is an egg drop soup, but the egg can be omitted turning it into a fantastic vegan soup.

Close-up vegetarian Chinese hot and sour soup garnished with spring onions.

Serving Suggestions

My take on Chinese hot and sour soup makes for an awesome standalone meal for lunch.

However, I mainly cook it as a starter for our semi-regular Chinese fakeaway nights.

I usually start off with some prawn toast to nibble on followed by a bowl of soup.

Then I break out the noodle dishes, I’ve served it with everything from dan dan noodles, to my tofu noodle stir fry and even with my Japanese-influenced mushroom yaki udon noodles.

But if noodles ain’t your thing it is great served before everything from my special fried rice to my take on chicken egg foo yung!

Overhead vegetarian Chinese hot and sour soup garnished with spring onions.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob or stovetop.
  • Wok.
  • Stirring spoon.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Weighing scale and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Kettle to boil water for the stock.
Vegetarian Chinese hot and sour soup with shiitake mushrooms and silken tofu.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Close your eyes and take a spoonful of this hot and sour egg drop soup and you will be transported to your favourite Chinese restaurant!


  • 250g (9oz) Silken Tofu
  • 125g (4 oz) Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 500ml (2 Cups) Vegetable Stock
  • 15g (Half of a Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Spring Onions
  • 1 Tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Chinkiang Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Crispy Chilli Oil (I use Lao Gan Ma)
  • ½ Tsp Sugar
  • ⅛ Tsp MSG
  • ⅛ Tsp White Pepper
  • 2 Tsp Cornflower
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Nut Oil


  1. Remove the tofu from the packet and place it on some kitchen paper to soak up excess moisture.
  2. Cut the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and discard them, then slice the caps into 2-3mm (⅛") thick strips.
  3. Peel the ginger and cut it into batons as finely as you can.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them as thinly as possible.
  5. Trim and clean up the spring onions, then cut the white end into 1cm (½") long lengths and finely shred the green ends, keeping the white and green bits separate.
  6. Mix the soy sauces, Chinkiang vinegar, sesame oil, crispy chilli oil, white pepper and MSG together with the cornstarch and set aside.
  7. Place the egg in a bowl and lightly beat it.
  8. Cut the tofu into 5mm (¼") thick batons.
  9. Heat a wok over a high heat and when it is hot add the ground nut oil, garlic, ginger and white parts of the spring onion and stir fry for 45-60 seconds.
  10. Throw in the mushrooms and stir fry for 60-90 seconds.
  11. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  12. When the stock is boiling add the spicy soy sauce mix and cook until the stock thickens a little, this will take a minute or two.
  13. Whilst whisking slowly pour in the beaten egg.
  14. Add the tofu and the green parts of the spring onion (keeping a little back for garnish), and cook for a final 60 seconds.


This like many Asian dishes really flies at a rate of knots so make sure everything is shopped mixed and prepared before you get started for the perfect dish.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1319mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 17g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Jacqueline Debono

Sunday 4th of March 2018

I adore hot and sour soup! But here in Italy good Chinese restaurants are hard to come by! Am def going to try this out. It sounds wonderful! BTW I have almost the exact same bowls as yours which I bought in Budapest!!

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of March 2018

Such a small world :) I find good Chinese restaurants are tough to find right across Europe, I can count the good ones I have found on the fingers of one hand :o


Sunday 4th of March 2018

I love hot and sour soup and this recipe looks delicious! I need to pin and try this ASAP!

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of March 2018

Thanks Amanda.


Saturday 3rd of March 2018

I love hot and sour soup...I make it often...will try your version with tofu and egg...never used egg ....and yes loved your bowls...

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of March 2018

Thanks Renu... There are a bewildering array of "hot and sour soups" from all over Asia so it is not surprising really that we encounter different versions. This is a pretty classic egg drop soup with hot and sour elements.

Byron Thomas

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

TOFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Brian, I'm so impressed! And proud!! Hahaha! I bet you loved it too, because this soup reads like a good book.

Brian Jones

Monday 8th of August 2016

Hahaha, it is a really great soup and took a while to get right... I'm not sure you will be seeing tofu here too often but there are some places where it is perfect!


Sunday 31st of July 2016

I've never thought to make my own hot & sour soup, but this seems easy (as long as I have everything ready)! And it looks perfect!! Bravo again Brian!

Brian Jones

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

Defo get everything ready, I've tried prepping in the past as the cooking progresses and there just aint time and it always ends up in carnage!

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