Vegetable Hot-and-Sour Soup

Active Time: 25 MINTotal Time50 MIN
Yield: Serves : 4

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: Food & Wine often covered (and tried to debunk) diet trends, with columns on everything from avoiding carbohydrates in the 1970s to embracing healthy fats in the 2010s. In a regular column on low-fat cooking, chef and author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo shared her recipes for Chinese food and how to avoid hidden fat in marinades, sauces, and soups. Her Vegetable Hot-and-Sour Soup offers extraordinary depth of flavor from ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil and layers of texture from lily buds, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots—you won’t miss the meat. Dried lily buds, also called tiger lily buds or golden needles, are nutritious and slightly sweet. In Chinese dishes, they are often used with the dried fungi known as tree ear, or wood ear, mushrooms. Although both add layers of chewy texture to this dish, they can be omitted.


  • 40 dried lily buds (about 1/2 ounce) (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup small dried tree ear mushrooms (see Note) or dried shiitake mushroom caps
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup drained canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and julienned
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 21/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (from 1 medium scallion)

How to Make It

Step 1    

Place lily buds and mushrooms in a small bowl, and add very hot water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Trim and discard tough ends from buds, and cut in half crosswise. Coarsely chop mushrooms.

Step 2    

Stir together lily buds, mushrooms, chicken stock, bamboo shoots, ginger, and salt in a large nonreactive saucepan over high. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar and red pepper; increase heat to medium-high, and boil mixture 2 minutes.

Step 3    

Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Whisk cornstarch mixture into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream; cook 1 minute. Beat together egg and egg white in a medium bowl. Pour egg mixture into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream, stirring gently. Stir in tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions before serving.


Find dried lily buds and dried tree ear mushrooms at Asian markets.

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