Popular Szechuan Chinese soup

I learned this recipe while taking Szechuan cooking classes. This soup is very popular in this country. It comes in a great many varieties, and can range from very mild to very spicy, and from a soup to almost a stew. This particular recipe is a medium spicy soup that should be within most peoples' tolerance range.


(serves 6-8)










  1. Put the golden needles, wood ear, and black mushroom to soak in separate bowls of water. It takes 30 to 60 minutes for them to be ready. After soaking, the wood ear should be a flexible and flat material. It may have a few hard lumps; cut these off and discard them. Discard the soaking liquids.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare mixtures \fBA,\fBC, and \fBD. Place their ingredients in bowls, and mix well. When mixing with cornstarch, add the liquid slowly to the cornstarch. This avoids getting undissolved cornstarch balls.
  3. Shred the pork. This pork must be very lean. The meat portion of pork cutlets or the center of pork chops are good sources. Shredding means cutting the pork into pieces about the size of wooden matches. ( 1/4 inch square by 1-2 inches) This is most easily done by slicing the pork, then laying the slices overlapping each other at an angle and cutting these at a reverse angle.
  4. Marinate the pork in mixture \fBA for 15 minutes. Then use 2 Tbsp oil to stir-fry the meat until the color changes. Set the meat aside.
  5. Shred and cube the other ingredients.
  6. Bring mixture \fBB to a boil and add the black mushroom, bamboo shoots, wood ear, bean curd, and golden noodles. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the meat, then add mixture \fBC. Add the beaten egg while stirring to disperse the egg in sheets and filaments. Add mixture \fBD, and cook another minute.
  7. Serve hot.


Bean curd must be fresh. If you cannot get it fresh, omit it.

You will need at least 6 bowls (soup bowls are OK), 1 large bowl, and either a two-handled wok or a large sauce pan. Don't attempt this with a one-handled wok because it will be filled with boiling soup and is almost certain to spill.

Hot and sour soup is a generic soup type, so you can make many variations on this soup. To control the spiciness, adjust the ratio between mixture \fBD and mixture \fBB. Changing the ratios inside mixture \fBD changes the nature of the soup. Finally, you can add a lot more ingredients if you want. The critical ingredients are the golden needles, bamboo (although almost any variety can be good), mushrooms (or fungus of some sort), and pork shreds. Experiment with different kinds of fungus and bamboo. Adding other mild vegetables is usually a success.


Difficulty: easy but tedious.
Time: 1-2 hours (lots of preparation, little cooking)
Precision: measure the ingredients.


Rob Horn 
Infinet, Inc., North Andover, Massachusetts, USA 
{decvax, seismo!harvard}!wanginst!infinet!rhorn 
Recipe last modified: 1 Aug 86

Original header

Path: decwrl!recipes
From: rhorn@infinet (Rob Horn)
Subject: RECIPE: Hot and sour soup
Message-ID: <6877@decwrl.DEC.COM>
Date: 12 Dec 86 07:49:17 GMT
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Organization: Infinet, North Andover, Mass., USA
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