Healthy Hot and Sour Soup

Soup is the type of food that is inevitably comforting.

Most of us have childhood favorites, whether it be a classic chicken noodle in bed from being sick as a kid, or I grew up with a Korean seaweed soup my mom made for me whenever I was even on the brink of getting sick. 

While I love my childhood soups, I love discovering new soups. On the health side of things, soups can be kind of precarious. Many popular ones will either be laden with 3 days worth of sodium or full of not-so-good type of fats.

I've never been the biggest soup maker for some reason, and I had no idea what certain types of soups I would only get at restaurants were made of. 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover on the kitchn that hot and sour soup was actually pretty healthy and simple to make. 

Knowing I was making dinner for someone that was having a rough day, I decided to make a comforting soup and this time was as good as any to try this recipe out. 

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe by Kelli Dunn on the kitchn, so I'm posting the original recipe below with my additions as notes. 

To add some umami, I used dried kombu soup broth and black sesame to the soup. I think the kombu definitely added a new profile of flavor to the chicken broth I used, and made me not need to add too much salt to the soup. I also didn't use pork, so I eliminated it from the recipe below.

I've also never used dried shitake mushrooms, but it is a magical ingredient. The water that you use to rehydrate the mushrooms alone carry so much flavor- I can't wait to experiment with it further for other recipes.

On to the recipe! All my adaptation notes are written in italics.

Healthy Hot and Sour Soup 
adapted from the kitchn

*serves 4


6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 quart chicken stock, organic low-sodium
Dash of dried kombu soup mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari, if making gluten-free)
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained and sliced into matchsticks
3/4 cup firm tofu, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons cold water (you can also use tapioca starch)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sesame oil
1 scallion, finely chopped
Black sesame seeds to garnish


Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand about 15 minutes to rehydrate.

Meanwhile, combine the chicken stock, salt, (kombu soup mix) and tamari (or soy sauce) in a soup pot and bring to a boil. 

Remove the mushrooms from the hot water. Strain any grit from the the mushroom water, then pour it in the soup pot. Slice the mushrooms thinly.

Add the bamboo, sliced mushrooms, and sliced pork to the now-boiling soup. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tofu, pepper, and vinegar to the pot. Bring to a boil again. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with water to the pot, and continue stirring until the mixture is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the egg, stirring gently.

Ladle the hot soup in bowls and garnish with a teaspoon of sesame oil and some chopped scallions (and black sesame seeds!)