Chinese Hot-and-Sour Mushroom Soup




In Chinese medicine, which is fundamentally based on the balancing principles of yin and yang, heating foods are those that warm the body, feeding it with energy. Balance, which includes establishing equilibrium among the five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami), helps the body’s vital spirit, called qi, to flow freely and support excellent health. Need I say more? Hot, sour, salty, sweet and loaded with umami from the soy sauce and mushrooms, which are also known to strengthen the immune system, this soup has all the makings of a restorative tonic. And it tastes good, too!

Chinese Hot-and-Sour Mushroom Soup
Serves 4
  1. 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  2. Boiling water
  3. 1 tbsp oil 15 mL
  4. 1 tbsp minced garlic 15 mL
  5. 1 tbsp minced gingerroot 15 mL
  6. 8 oz trimmed fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced 250 g
  7. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  8. 1⁄2 to 1 red finger chile, cut into paper-thin rings
  9. 4 cups mushroom or beef stock 1 L
  10. 1⁄4 cup soy sauce 60 mL
  11. 1⁄4 cup Chinese black rice vinegar 60 mL
  12. 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 5 mL
  13. 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts) 30 mL
  1. 1. In a heatproof bowl, soak dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes, weighing down with a cup to ensure they remain submerged. Drain and discard liquid. Slice mushrooms thinly and set aside.
  2. 2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add soaked dried mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, bell pepper, and finger chile to taste. Cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. (Mushrooms shouldn’t be fully cooked at this point.)
  3. 3. Add stock, soy sauce and vinegar and stir well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for until flavors are infused, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
  4. 4. Ladle into warm serving bowls. Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately.
  1. Tip
  2. Be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce or wheat-free tamari if you are making this soup for someone who is sensitive to gluten.
Judith Finlayson


Posted in Chile Recipes, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian & Vegan.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *