Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients in this hot and sour vegetable soup recipe. It’s a super-easy soup to make, doesn’t take long to cook (the vegetables should be barely done), and is filled with invigorating textures and flavors.
To get a completely satisfying result is to adjust the spicy, salty, and sour (from the rice vinegar) flavors to your liking. Best not to make it too spicy; you can always pass around more hot stuff at the table.
Black vinegar option
My intrepid photographer, Hannah Kaminsky, suggested including black (chinkiang) vinegar as an alternative to rice vinegar. It’s a dark, thicker vinegar that’s sometimes served with dumplings.
Chinese cuisine expert Fuschia Dunlop says that “the best varieties of black vinegar made from fermented glutinous rice with charred rice used to give a deep brown color.” Look for it in Asian groceries or online.
What to serve with hot and sour soup
- This soup is delicious with Simple Scallion Pancakes.
- Or, if you want to just stick with one recipe, consider vegetable dumplings or spring rolls from the frozen foods aisle of the supermarket or natural foods store.
- For a larger meal, consider a simple noodle dish like Hoisin-Ginger Udon Noodles with Bok Choy
Other quick Asian-inspired soups you may like
- Quick Ginger-Miso Noodle Soup
- Asian Noodle Soup with Tofu, Greens, & Shiitake Mushrooms
- Homemade Vegan Pho
Recipe adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1 medium-large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 5 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper
- 3 to 4 stalks bok choy, stems sliced, leaves chopped (make sure to rinse well)
- 1 cup snow peas, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 15-ounce can baby corn with liquid
- 3 to 5 tablespoons rice vinegar or black (chinkiang) vinegar, to taste
- Chili oil, sriracha, cayenne pepper, or any hot seasoning, to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, well drained and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- Heat both oils in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the tomatoes, shiitakes, water, and pepper. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and cilantro. Taste frequently as you add the vinegar, hot seasoning, and soy sauce.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Slowly drizzle into the soup while stirring. Simmer over very low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve at once, garnishing each serving with cilantro.
Variation: Use a handful or two of small Asian greens such as tatsoi or mizuna. Add at the very of cooking time.
If you like this quick Asian-style soup, you might also enjoy …
See more delectable vegan soups & stews.