Szechwan Hot and Sour Soup

Having strong stock on hand is a great time-saver. Freeze it in meal-sized portions.

Serves 4.


1.5 litres/3 pints/6 cups pork or chicken stock
60 g/2 oz bean thread vermicelli, cooked
200 g/7 oz/1 cup finely chopped cooked pork or chicken
4 dried Chinese mushrooms,
soaked and chopped
1 small can bamboo shoot, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon Chinkiang or cider vinegar
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped


Strain stock, chill and remove fat from surface. Bring to the boil in a large pan and add noodles cut in short lengths, pork or chicken, mushrooms, bamboo shoot and ginger. Mix cornflour smoothly with 3 tablespoons cold water and add to simmering soup, stirring constantly until it boils and clears. Pour beaten egg into soup in a fine stream, stirring rapidly with chopsticks or fork so it sets in fine shreds. Remove soup from heat, add remaining ingredients and mix well, adjust seasoning to taste. The taste should be quite sour and hot.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)