Vegan hot and sour soup is just as tasty as takeout and guaranteed to be totally plant-based. Great for a chilly fall or winter evening, this soup is ready in only 40 minutes and absolutely delicious served alongside these vegan scallion pancakes or these mushroom tofu lettuce wraps.
We all know that hot and sour soup is a staple on all North American Chinese take-out menus. I was, however, surprised to see it on menus in Argentina and Spain. I have to say I was not impressed. It was thick, gloppy, and rather bland. Nothing like the slightly spicy, super sour soup I knew as a child.
Hot and sour soup was one of the very few exceptions I made after becoming vegetarian, carefully swirling my spoon around and trying to pick out all the pork pieces. Although, as I know now, it was probably made with chicken stock so I might as well have just eaten the pork too.
I never thought to make vegan hot and sour soup myself until recently. Little did I know how simple it actually is and it’s not that difficult to find the more exotic ingredients if you get to know your local Asian supermarket. In any case, if you can’t find something like wood ear, you can always leave it out and the soup will still be good.
I’ve chosen to leave out some of the ingredients which are commonly found in hot and sour soup recipes such as dried lily flower, not because I can’t find it at my Asian supermarket, but more because I can’t bring myself to buy a big bag of them just to make soup.
But the best thing about making this vegan hot and sour soup at home is that you can control just how hot and sour you want it. I love sour so I usually end up adding a significant amount of extra vinegar to the finished soup.
- 2 tablespoons dried wood ears
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cup of reserved mushroom soaking liquid
- 1 medium carrot, sliced into thin strips
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) of bamboo shoots, sliced into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 215 grams (7.5 oz) of extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon green onion tops, chopped (for garnish)
- Put the wood ears in a small bowl and pour over boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes to reconstitute, then remove, rinse and slice. Discard any hard bits.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, place the dried shiitakes and pour over 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes to reconstitute, then remove them and slice, discarding the stems. Reserve the mushroom soaking liquid.
- In a large pot, combine stock, mushroom soaking liquid, cloud ears, shiitakes, carrot, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and mix until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture in to the soup and add the tofu. Allow the soup to simmer until it thickens.
- Finally add the sesame oil.
- Serve and garnish with green onion tops.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2086mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 10g