Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Note: For a much faster version, use 1 1/2 quarts store-bought low-sodium chicken broth simmered with a 2-inch knob of ginger (sliced), 6 scallions, and 4 smashed coves of garlic simmered on the stovetop for 20 minutes in place of the homemade stock. Proceed from Step 2 as directed. Jinhua ham is a Chinese-style smoked raw ham. You can use country ham, prosciutto, or even a smoked ham hock or bacon in its place. Wood-ear mushroom is also sold as black fungus and can be found in Asian market, along with dried day lilies. Chinkiang vinegar is also sold as Zhenjiang vinegar in Asian markets. If unavailable, substitute with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 105 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • For the Broth: (see note)
  • 1 pound chicken feet
  • 1 pound chicken carcasses, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces Jinhua ham
  • 2-inch knob ginger, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 onion, split in half
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • For the Garnish
  • 1 ounce dried wood-ear mushrooms (see note)
  • 1 ounce dried day lilies (see note)
  • 6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 6 ounces trimmed pork shoulder or loin, cut into 2-inch long slivers
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • To Serve
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Chinkiang vinegar (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup picked fresh cilantro leaves


  1. For the Broth: Combine chicken feet, chicken bones, and ham in a large stockpot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Drain bones in sink, then rinse under cold running water. Return to pot, add ginger, garlic, onion, and 6 scallions. Cover with water, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook for 1 hour, skimming off scum and fat occasionally. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large pot. Discard solids. You should have about 1 1/2 quarts broth. If not, reduce to 1 1/2 quarts.

  2. Combine 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Add to broth. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

  3. For the Garnish: While broth simmers, place wood-ears and day lilies in separate bowls and cover with warm water. Let soak at least half an hour. Drain carefully, then thinly slice wood-ears and cut day lilies crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

  4. When broth is ready, add sliced wood-ears, day lilies, tofu, and pork. Beat together egg with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch. Bring broth to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and slowly pour the egg into the broth in a thin steady stream. Let egg set for 15 seconds, then stir gently to incorporate. Season soup to taste with salt if necessary.

  5. To Serve: Just before serving, stir in white pepper and vinegar. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing more white pepper, vinegar, and sesame oil at the table to adjust for taste.

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