Hot and Sour Soup

Embracing the yin and yang of sweet and sour, this Gok Wan recipe makes for the perfect Chinese starter. Serve piping hot, garnished with fresh chopped chives.

Gok Cooks Chinese
From the book Gok Cooks Chinese


Opposites attract! This statement has never been more true than when it is applied to Chinese food. The most glorious balance of yin and yang is found in most Asian dishes. Sweet and sour, the two tastes that demonstrate this balance perfectly, are at the heart of this dish. Sourness is perfectly harnessed in rice vinegar and light soy sauce, offset and complemented by the sweetness of field mushrooms and young ginger. Although simple to make, the audience at your dinner table will be wowed by how complex this soup tastes.

Serves 4
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 30 min


1.5l vegetable stock
50g field mushrooms, sliced reasonably thickly
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
50ml light soy sauce
75g tinned bamboo shoots, drained
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
1 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp rice or cider vinegar, according to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp chopped chives


Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add all the other ingredients apart from the vinegar, eggs and spring onions. Simmer the broth for 8-10 minutes so that the flavours combine.

Add the vinegar a little at a time. It is up to you how sour you enjoy your soup. Continue to simmer for a further 2 minutes.

Make sure the soup is simmering, not boiling, then gently whisk the soup while slowly pouring in the egg. The soup will turn cloudy before the strands of egg cook. Gently simmer the soup for 2 minutes once all the egg has been added.

Divide the soup between bowls and dress with the chopped chives.

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