Hot and Sour Soup

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Hot and sour soup is a simple yet incredibly flavorful dish made with lots of fresh veggies and vibrant spices. It’s a spicy, sour and hot soup that’s popular in Indo-Chinese cuisine, and is very easy to make at home. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions and photos to make the best vegan hot and sour soup from scratch.

hot and sour soup with coriander garnish in a soup bowl with a white spoon inside on a dark brown bamboo tray

About This Hot and Sour Soup

Comforting Soup Recipes are wonderful to make whenever the weather turns crisp and chilly. A local favorite is this hot and sour soup from the popular Indo Chinese cuisine. It has just the right combination of spiciness and a great sour flavor, so each sip is satisfying but leaves you wanting more.

Traditional hot and sour soup recipes typically are made with vinegar for the sourness, and include red or green chilies (or chili sauce) for heat. They also tend to include some type of protein along with a bounty of fresh vegetables.

My version as well is loaded with lots of seasonal veggies and tangy vinegar. However, this Indian-style recipe only uses black pepper for a kick of spiciness. I’ve also tweaked the classic dish to be meatless for a completely vegan hot and sour soup recipe.

Enjoy light and flavorful hot and sour soup as a starter or main dish with your favorite Chinese-inspired sides!

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Hot and Sour Soup

Stir-frying veggies

1. First, prep the veggies.

  • Rinse and shred a small piece of cabbage and 5 to 6 french beans. I use red cabbage, but you can easily use green cabbage instead. You need ¼ cup shredded cabbage and ¼ cup of finely chopped french beans.
  • Wipe 5 to 6 button mushrooms with a wet cloth or rinse them in water. Then chop or slice them. You should get about ¾ cup of chopped or sliced button mushrooms.
  • Rinse, peel and grate 1 small carrot. You will be needing ¼ cup of grated carrots.
  • Chop 1 small onion or 1 to 2 spring onions (scallions). You want ¼ cup chopped onions or spring onion whites.
  • Peel, rinse and chop 1 inch ginger and 4 to 5 small to medium garlic cloves. You will need 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic.
  • Finely chop 1 small celery stick (optional) to get about 2 teaspoons of finely chopped celery.
bowl of fresh chopped veggies

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan or wok (kadai) or a pot. Add the finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic.

For the oil, use any neutral-flavored oil. Or opt to use toasted sesame oil for a smoky flavor.

heating onion and garlic in a wok

3. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes.

saute the onions garlic and ginger

4. Then add the finely chopped french beans. Stir and mix.

adding sliced beans to the hot wok with onion and garlic

5. Add the chopped or sliced button mushrooms.

mushrooms with sauteed beans and garlic

6. Stir fry over medium-high heat, until the mushrooms get lightly browned around the edges.

stir frying the mushrooms

7. Meanwhile, make a paste or slurry of 4 to 5 teaspoons of cornstarch (known as cornflour in India) and 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside.

cornstarch mixture

8. After about 5 or 6 minutes the mushrooms will be lightly browned. Now add the carrots, cabbage and celery.

fresh chopped veggies in a wok

9. Stir fry on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

stir frying the veggies

Making Hot and Sour Soup

10. Add 2.5 cups water or Veg Stock to the pan or pot.

adding cornstarch to the pot

11. Mix the veggies with the water or vegetable stock very well.

mixing veggies with water

12. Add 3 teaspoons soy sauce and stir again. I suggest using a good quality of naturally fermented and brewed soy sauce.

adding soy sauce to the soup

13. Taste, and season with salt as needed. Keep a check on the amount of salt as soy sauce already has salt in it. I added just about ¼ teaspoon first and adjusted towards the end.

adding salt to the broth

14. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer.

simmer the soup mixture

15. Mix in the cornstarch paste.

cornstarch paste added

16. Stir and mix again very well.

mixing cornstarch paste with soup

17. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the soup to thicken. The cornstarch paste will help in thickening the soup. Continue to stir at intervals.

simmer the hot and sour soup and thicken it

18. When the soup has thickened, add ¾ teaspoon black pepper or white pepper or according to taste.

black pepper added to soup

19. Now add 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar, or any good quality Chinese vinegar or Mirin or Sake. If you like, you can also add a bit of chopped coriander (cilantro) at this point.

For some more protein consider adding tofu cubes or sprouts at this step and then simmer for a minute.

rice vinegar added to soup

20. Give a final stir to the hot and sour soup, and turn off the heat. Taste and add more soy sauce, vinegar, salt or black pepper as needed.

mix vinegar and pepper in the soup

21. Serve the vegan hot and sour soup hot and garnished with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or spring onion greens (scallion greens).

veg hot and sour soup in a black rimmed bowl or a dark brown bamboo tray

FAQs

What different types of vinegar can I use to make this hot and sour soup?

I have used rice vinegar in this dish. You can also use good quality Chinese vinegar. Even regular white vinegar can be added if you don’t have rice vinegar. Whatever kind of vinegar you use, be sure it is high quality for the best taste.

What veggies can be added to vegan hot and sour soup?

Feel free to add bell pepper, bok choy, broccoli, zucchini, napa cabbage, steamed corn, baby corn, bamboo shoots, sprouts and/or tofu to make this a heartier dish. You can also add dried mushrooms like shiitake or fresh button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms.

How do I make a thicker soup?

I personally like a thin broth-like consistency to my hot and sour soup. However, if you want a slightly thick consistency you can add 1 or 2 teaspoons more of the cornstarch.

Can this soup recipe be doubled?

Absolutely. As-is this recipe prepares 2 servings. Double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd.

How long do leftovers keep well?

I recommend storing this soup for a day only in the refrigerator. Vegetable soups are best enjoyed when hot and freshly cooked. Reheat on the stovetop or in a microwave.

More Tasty Soup Recipes!

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closeup shot of hot and sour soup in a black rimmed bowl or a dark brown bamboo tray

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour soup is a spicy and hot soup made with mixed fresh vegetables, mushrooms, spices and soy sauce. It's a popular soup from the Indo Chinese cuisine, and is very easy to make at home.
4.79 from 33 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Indo Chinese
Course Side Dish, Starters
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

  • 1 small carrot or about 50 grams carrots or ¼ cup grated carrots
  • 5 to 6 button mushrooms or ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup shredded cabbage
  • ¼ cup finely chopped french beans
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped or about ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped celery – optional
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons cornstarch mixed in 2 tablespoons water – for a slight thicker soup, mix 6 to 7 teaspoons cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper or ¾ teaspoon red chili paste or green chili sauce
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce – naturally brewed, add as required
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or add as required
  • 2.5 cups water or veg stock
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon oil – any neutral oil or toasted sesame oil
  • salt as required

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • First rinse and shred the cabbage and french beans. 
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a wet cloth and then slice them. You can also rinse the mushrooms in fresh water if you prefer.
  • Rinse, peel and grate the carrots. Chop the onions, ginger, celery and garlic.

Stir frying veggies

  • Heat oil in a pan or wok.
  • Add finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Stir and saute on a medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Then add the finely chopped french beans. Stir and add the sliced mushrooms.
  • On a medium to high heat, stir fry till the mushrooms get lightly browned from the edges.
  • Meanwhile make a paste of corn starch and water. Keep aside.
  • Once the mushrooms are lightly browned (takes about 5 to 6 minutes on a medium to high heat) add carrots, cabbage and celery.
  • Stir fry these veggies on a high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Making hot and sour soup

  • Add water or veg stock. Stir well. Add soy sauce and stir.
  • Then season with salt. 
  • Keep a check on the amount of salt as soy sauce already has salt.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer on medium heat.
  • Stir the cornstarch paste and add it to the soup. Stir and mix again very well.
  • Allow the soup to thicken on a low to medium heat.
  • When the hot and sour soup has thickened, add black pepper or white pepper and vinegar.
  • Give a final stir. Switch off the heat. Check the taste and add more soy sauce, vinegar or salt or black pepper if needed.
  • Serve the hot and sour soup steaming hot garnished with coriander leaves (cilantro) or spring onion greens. 
  • You can also just add the cilantro towards the end and then serve the soup.

Notes

  • You can add veggies of your choice. Some options are cauliflower, zucchini, bell pepper, broccoli, bokchoy, napa cabbage, steamed sweet corn, baby corn, bamboo shoots. 
  • For more protein add tofu or sprouts. For a vegetarian soup, you can add paneer cubes.
  • Mushrooms like dried shiitake mushrooms or cremini mushrooms can be added. For shiitake mushrooms, first rinse and then rehydrate them in water by soaking them for a few hours. When they are softened, remove and discard the chewy base stalk, chop them and add to the soup.
  • Alter the flavors of your soup by adding less or more of the seasonings like soy sauce, black pepper and rice vinegar. 
  • For a thicker soup, increase the amount of cornstarch by 1 to 2 teaspoons.
  • For a gluten-free soup use tapioca starch or potato starch to thicken the soup instead of cornstarch. Swap soy sauce with Tamari or Coconut aminos or Bragg liquid aminos.
  • The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to make a big batch of the soup.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Hot and Sour Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 145 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 1133mg49%
Potassium 465mg13%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 5354IU107%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 37µg35%
Calcium 62mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 41µg10%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 31mg8%
Phosphorus 98mg10%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This hot and sour soup recipe post from the archives (November 2014) has been republished and updated on 16 July 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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63 Comments

  1. Gave this recipe a go, turned out absolutely brilliant. The best part of following these recipes by Dassana is that it uses regular ingredients found in the indian household and does not send us shopping. My 9 year old daughter loved the soup and she has good taste in food. Spice level was easily adjusted as it only involved black pepper. It was easy to make and did not take much time to prepare. Will be making this soup many a times now5 stars

    1. Great to know and thanks for sharing a lovely feedback. Glad that your daughter loved the soup. Yes, soups like these do not take much time to make. Thanks again.

  2. Thanks to your blog,making soup has become very easy for me.i would refer to other recipes earlier where there was straining and hence wastage that I gave up.my hubby is very fond of soups so I make it almost daily especially in the winters and monsoons which we really enjoy.
    Tried this and it was just delicious.
    Try to give a feedback regularly just to let you know how your recipes have been helping me to prepare simple,tasty and healthy meals and also appreciate your efforts and the hard work that you put in.thanks once again.

    Regards
    Winnie4 stars

    1. thanks winnie. i know about the straining and wastage of vegetables, which even i do not prefer. i will be adding two more soup recipes as i have got many requests for it. one is a light version and the second one is a heavier one with cream and cheese. will add in a couple of weeks.

      i really appreciate your feedback in all the recipes you try and it always helps. it does take a considerable amount of time and effort to develop and test the recipe, then later take pics, then work on the pics and then work on the post. it is a process and takes some days or more depending on the recipe complexity. i also appreciate that you can relate to and understand the effort, hard work that goes in the entire process. thanks once more winnie and welcome.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the great recipe, it was a total hit in my house. just trying to eat healthy can you please suggest an alternative for cornstarch to?

    1. thanks for the feedback. alternatives to corn starch are tapioca flour, arrowroot flour and potato starch flour. hope this helps.

  4. Thanks for this great recipe. I made it without oil and mushrooms. Also added water chestnuts and put red hot sauce, serrano pepper, and black pepper to try and get it very spicy. Double or tripled the ginger too. It was totally a hit with my husband and I enjoyed too, which is saying something as I’m not generally a fan of hot and sour soup.5 stars

    1. welcome april and thanks for sharing this lovely feedback. loved the variations you added in the soup. am sure they must have made the soup taste too good.

  5. Thank you for an easy and delicious recipe. We enjoyed this hot and sour soup on a cold winter day.

    Now let me tell you that I have been using your blog for many dishes. When my kids ask me what I’m making for dinner and I say it’s something new from vegrecipesofindia, they just know it’ll be good. In fact, my 8 year old son has been asking me to write and let you know how much we like your recipes. I rarely write reviews but I’m trying to change that (have to follow my son’s advice 🙂

    I really appreciate your efforts in presenting recipes from different parts of India and the world with such accuracy and detail. All the recipes I have tried so far are well written and fool-proof. It’s as if you know what mistakes someone could make and add tips and substitutions indicating what would and would not work. Your presentation style instills an interest in cooking from scratch. Thank you for being an inspiration to cook a wide variety of things outside my comfort zone.

    I was trying to see if there is a main page where I could leave this general feedback but didn’t see any. Hence thought of sharing my thoughts in this recipe comment itself. Once again, thanks and keep up the great work.5 stars

    1. thank you very much deepa ????. please convey my thanks to your son too ????. also wish you and your family a happy new year with light, love and abundance.

      i do take care of writing in details and also write about tips etc as i do know what can go wrong. do try more recipes as well and i am sure you will like them. we do not have any general feedback page. so the feedback is on the individual recipe page itself.

      thanks again ????

      1. Thank you Dassana. Wish you too a very Happy New Year 2018!

        I definitely plan to try out more recipes. I’m also trying to add comments to all the recipes I have tried so far. It’s indeed a looooooong list 🙂

        1. welcome deepa. sure do try more recipes. you can give feedback whenever you have time or are free. have a great new year.

  6. Hi Mr. Amit….. I am a huge fan of urs recipe.. This recipe was superb… N SO Easy for working woman… My husband loved it…. Thank u very much… 🙂5 stars

    1. Welcome Dr. Shruti. Thanks for your kind words and for giving positive feedback on this soup recipe.

  7. Hi Dassana,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe.

    Can you please suggest some healthy option to go with this soup apart from rice and breads?5 stars

    1. nehal, usually soups pair very well with of course breads and pasta or noodles. you can have a side of some carbs like roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes or yam to go with the soup. even a dish like sautéed mushrooms or roasted mushrooms goes well with soups. you can also consider using brown rice. if you like pasta or noodles, you can use whole wheat pasta or noodles, if you are fine with processed foods. as both pasta and noodles are processed. another option which i personally prefer is some savoury rolled oats porridge plain or without veggies made with water/milk and a bit of cream. you can add a side of mashed potatoes too or roasted aubergines or blanched french beans salad. quinoa also can be paired.

    1. you can use apple cider vinegar. even i have used apple cider vinegar in absence of rice vinegar in chinese recipes.

  8. hi ..um big fan of ur cooking n reciepes …i want to knw wzts the difference btwn hot n sour soyp n manchow soup n vegetable soup…plz lemme knw if any particular difference

    1. thanks monika. i think the difference is that less pepper or chili sauce and less vinegar is added in manchow soup than hot & sour soup. also manchow soup is not served with fried noodles. but nowadays in restaurants, you will see both the soups being served with fried noodles. vegetable soup can be of two types – clear and thick. in a clear veg soup, one can add seasonings and flavorings of one’s choice and liking.

  9. Hi

    I tried this. It turned out good. Unfortunately how much ever corn flour mixture I added it didn’t thicken how much ever I kept it on flame
    Any idea

    Thank you for the recipe. I’m happy.

    1. thanks nanditha. corn flour should thicken the soup. so i am also wondering why the soup was not thickening. did you use the same cup measurement for all the ingredients?

      1. Yeah,

        No problem I will bring new pack of corn flour and try.
        Thank you. All your recipes turns out tasty. Lot of thanks to you

        1. sure nanditha do try and let us know how it was? glad you liked the recipe from our blog thankyou so much.

  10. Another awesome recipe for winters. I added shallots along with spring onions and little bit of garlic salt and skipped coriander. It was delicious. we had only soup for dinner. Very filling. Thank you.

    1. pleased to know this saf glad you liked the soup thnakyou for your positive words 🙂

  11. Hello,

    If we want to add red chili paste or green chili sauce, when should we add it?5 stars

  12. Just tried this recipe for dinner tonight. I added in soft tofu and some other vegetables I had in the pantry, and it tasted so good! Definitely making this again, I’m so happy with how it turned out4 stars

    1. Thanks MelissaM for sharing your positive feedback. glad to know this.

  13. Hi …….trying. For the first tym ……….process looks very easy …….. Thanks

  14. Hi, Dassana –

    Wanted to let you know that I made this soup and really enjoyed it! I appreciated that it didn’t require any hard-to-find ingredients. Once your veggies are chopped, it comes together quickly and easily. I think this would be a great recipe for someone who is new to cooking but wants to expand their palate and repertoire. I used black pepper as the spice and it worked splendidly.

    A couple of thoughts for others reading this – I added cubed tofu near the very end of cooking, which helped make this more of an entree. I also used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce; tasted great.

    One suggestion for other readers – you might want to double or even triple this recipe. Not only is it delicious and will you want leftovers, but the recipe as-is makes a smaller amount. With only 2.5 cups of liquid, you’re looking at only 2 servings of soup, depending on your bowl size. And if you’re going to go through the effort of chopping all those vegetables, you might as well make more soup and have extra for the next day! I doubled the recipe and I’m happy I did.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Before becoming vegan, I always ordered hot and sour soup at restaurants. I’ve gotten it at a few restaurants here in LA, but I thought this recipe was just as good (and much cheaper to make at home!). Cheers!5 stars

    1. hi nicole. agree on what you say. once the veggies are chopped its easy to put together. its is a good beginner recipe too. adding tofu makes it more wholesome and nutritious. thanks for sharing the suggestions. i have highlighted the part of doubling and tripling the recipe in the post. this recipe will serve 2 to 3, depending on the bowl size. what you say makes sense too. chopping the veggies etc. at least you doubled the recipe and thats good.

  15. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, and all others which I’ve come to use almost on a daily basis now.

    best regards and cheers.5 stars

  16. Hello mam….
    I made this soup, it was so yummy…
    My all fmly loved it….they told me to make it again…..

    1. thanks suvidha for sharing this positive feedback on soup. glad to know this.

    1. awanti, mushroom is not compulsory. for protein you can add moong sprouts or tofu. or you can skip mushroom all together.

  17. Dear Dassana, You both are doing wonderful job and my hearty Congrats for that. I specially want to Thank you for all cooking inspiration you provided by efforts to make any recipe simple with good graphic and short recipe listing at end. I almost follow all your recipes and i must say your blog is one of the best recipe blogs – specially for vegetarians like me.
    Keep up good work and Thank you once again.
    -Sangita.5 stars

    1. welcome sangita. its very motivating to know that the blog is making a positive difference in readers life. i always feel good when i read such motivating feedback. thanks a lot for this sweet comment. it matters a lot to me.