Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner: Hot and Sour Soup

By grace.g.yang · December 9, 2009
Under: Cheap Eats,Dinner,Lunch,My Life,Recipes

My mom recently taught me how to make hot and sour soup and it’s so delicious and easy to make at home that you can quickly prepare this for a weeknight dinner (with plenty of leftovers for lunch if you don’t end up going in for seconds or thirds). Hot and sour soup at Chinese restaurants can be filled with MSG and other preservatives (why I typically avoid it when I go out for Chinese food), but this version is healthy and filled with lots of nutrients and delicious vegetables.

Hot and Sour Soup Ingredients:

1/3 6 ounce bag of dried lily flower, soaked in water
3 ounces (or around 30 leaves) of wood ear mushrooms, soaked in water
1/2 cabbage
1 bunch of cilantro (optional)
1 large container of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of corn starch
White pepper (black pepper is also fine)
1 container of soft tofu

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First, soak the dried lily flowers in water:

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Next, remove the stems from the wood ear mushrooms and slice them vertically:

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Once the lily flowers have soaked for about 5 minutes, remove them so their stems are all facing one way (their stems are more fibrous and tough):

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Remove the fibrous stems:

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Pour the chicken broth into a pot and let it come to a boil:

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My mom actually made a broth so I didn’t have to use the chicken broth, but chicken broth is a quick and easy substitute (she made the broth from pork bones, picked out the meat, and threw away the bones…that’s the meat you might have noticed in the broth pictures). If you use broth, I recommend using the entire container of broth and then refilling the empty container with water to dilute the chicken broth.

After the broth comes to a boil, add in the wood ear mushrooms because they will take the longest to cook:

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Next, add in the dried lily flowers:

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Let the wood ear mushrooms and dried lily flowers cook for a little with the broth. While those are cooking, start chopping up cabbage:

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Place the cabbage into the soup:

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Let the cabbage cook while you mix the soy sauce, corn starch, and vinegar together:

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And add a healthy portion of white pepper:

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Here’s what the soup should look like:

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Next, remove the soft tofu from its container and slice it:

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Add the tofu to the soup:

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Then add the soy sauce, white pepper, apple cider vinegar, and corn starch combination:

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And finally, add in cilantro:

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Ladle up some hot and sour soup:

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And enjoy all of the nutrients from the veggies (lily flowers have lots of fiber, vitamin A, calcium, and iron). We had the soup for a party the other weekend and it was a real crowd pleaser; the soup is a lot better than any hot and sour soup I’ve EVER had, and I’m not just saying that because I made it! :) Hope you enjoy recreating this recipe.

Cost Breakdown

1/3 6 ounce bag of dried lily flower, soaked in water – $0.75 (purchased at Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown)
3 ounces (or around 30 leaves) of wood ear mushrooms, soaked in water – $0.75 (purchased at Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown)
1/2 cabbage - $0.40
1 bunch of cilantro (optional) - $0.50
1 large container of chicken broth – $1.99
2 tablespoons of soy sauce - $0.05
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar – $0.05
1 tablespoon of corn starch – $0.05
White pepper (black pepper is also fine) – $0.05
1 container of soft tofu – $1.25

Total: $5.84 – enough for a party of 8

Reader Comments

u make me hungry.

#1 
Written By Dorren on December 9th, 2009 @ 9:11 am

Hey Grace. Nice blog. I’ve been looking for the wood ear mushrooms in this recipe at the same supermarket you purchased from but with no luck. Can you give me a hint on where you found them at HK Supermarket? Is it dried or fresh?

#2 
Written By Si on January 3rd, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

I purchased them dry – if you give me your mailing address, I’ll send you a pack!

#3 
Written By grace.g.yang on January 3rd, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

Hi Grace,

I came accross your blog and found thi recipe. Looks so yumm! I’m going to make it. But I dont like cabbage though, what do you suggest as a substitute? Also, I’m thinking to add some green onions as well… What do you think?

Thanks!

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