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Chicken Hot and Sour Soup

Two bowls of chicken hot and sour soup placed on a striped black and white napkin, with a bowl of red chili paste next to the bowls.

Chicken hot and sour soup is a Chinese restaurant classic – it’s spicy and tangy, and filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients. This particular recipe is for an Indo Chinese or Pakistani restaurant style hot and sour soup with chicken, vegetables and silky egg ribbons all combined together in a spicy tangy broth.

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Ingredients laid out for chicken hot and sour soup. The ingredients are from top left - chicken stock, boiled chicken, cabbage, carrots, soy sauce, salt, cornflour, tomato ketchup, eggs, vinegar, salt and white pepper, and red chili paste.

Chicken hot and sour soup – the ingredients:

The ingredients required for chicken hot and sour soup are quite simple, and should be easily available in your house, or just require a quick run to the nearest grocery store.

  • Stock: Chicken or vegetable stock (or broth) both will work in this recipe. Make your own, or purchase it from the supermarket. Just remember that store-bought brands can be high in sodium content so adjust the salt in the soup accordingly.
  • Chili: This is where the hot part in the soup comes from. The heat comes from red chili powder, and red chili paste. I use the one from Aldi, but you can use whatever is available in your country. Some options include chili paste, sambal olek, sriracha sauce, chili sauce or chili garlic sauce. Just remember that the paste will usually be hotter than a sauce, so adjust quantity accordingly.
  • Soy sauce, vinegar and sugar: Soy sauce for that Chinese flavor, vinegar for sourness, and sugar to balance everything out.
  • Tomato ketchup: Not a traditional Chinese ingredient, but an essential component of Indo Chinese recipes as well as Pakistani Chinese recipes. This balances out the sourness in the soup, and also gives the soup it’s signature reddish hue.
  • Chicken: Boil chicken in salt and pepper. Shred it up and use it as a base for this soup.
  • Vegetables: Cabbage and carrot, shredded and julienned respectively are a must in this soup. It’s also possible to add sliced capsicum.
  • Cornflour / cornstarch: This is used to thicken the soup.
  • Eggs: Which we will whisk, and the drizzle into the soup to make those lovely egg ribbons.
  • Salt and white pepper: Chinese recipes, including hot and sour soup usually use white pepper. It’s got a slow heat to it versus the direct spice hit that comes from black pepper. In case white pepper isn’t available, black pepper can be used.

How is the Indo Chinese or Pakistani hot and sour soup different from the regular Chinese version?

If you order hot and sour soup from a Chinese restaurant in any other part of the world, the broth will be sour, and a little but mainly it will be earthy and smoky, with the broth being a rich dark color. Along with the main protein, the hot and sour soup will also mushrooms (porcini or shitake) along with tofu and bean sprouts.

On the other hand, the Pakistani hot and sour soup will be red in color. Yes, red! The red color is quite common in Indo Chinese or Pakistani Chinese recipe and comes from the use of tomato ketchup and red chili powder. Indo Chinese cuisine is considered a style of cuisine that combines aspects of Chinese food and Indian flavors creating a hybrid version of spicy Asian dishes. This soup is a part of that cuisine, and hence is usually quite sour and spicy. Though there are few places that add tofu in soup, most of the times the main ingredients in the Pakistani hot and sour soup will be chicken and vegetables, usually carrot, cabbage and capsicum. Lastly, the soup is served with the classic Chinese restaurant trio of condiments – soy sauce, green chilies in vinegar and red chili paste.

A saucepan filled with chicken hot and sour soup, with red chili paste in a small bowl on top of it.

Is hot and sour soup healthy?

It is, and with the addition of chicken and vegetables it can make for a complete meal.  One serving of hot and sour soup (which is a full bowl and a half of this recipe) has around 200 calories in it. Not only is it a great option for people looking to eat healthy or trying to reduce their calorie intake, but it is also super delicious! In case you want to change things up, you can add low carb options such as zucchini noodles, or additional meat and vegetables, focusing on low calorie options.

How to make Indo Chinese style hot and sour soup?

Making hot and sour soup is super simple! Just place everything in one pot, and let it simmer till done.

  • Prepare the broth: Place the chicken stock with spices, ketchup, chili paste and the other sauces in a saucepan and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the chicken and vegetables: Turn heat to low, and then add the chicken, cabbage, and carrots. Cook for about 5 – 8 minutes till the chicken and vegetables are warmed through.
  • Thicken the soup:  The soup is thickened in two stages, first by adding the cornflour / cornstarch slurry, and then by adding the whisked egg. As the whisked egg is added into the soup, egg ribbons are created which add texture as well as thickening the soup.
  • Serve: Serve delicious hot and sour soup with your choice of condiments!

Looking for more soup recipes – check out the following below:

  1. Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (No Cream)
  2. Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup (Dairy free and Vegan free)
  3. Chicken Yakhni (Pakistani style chicken broth)
  4. Chicken Corn Soup

Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below! 

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Two bowls of chicken hot and sour soup placed on a striped black and white napkin, with a bowl of red chili paste next to the bowls.
5 from 1 vote
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Chicken hot and sour soup

Chicken hot and sour soup is a Chinese restaurant classic – it’s spicy and tangy, and filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients. This particular recipe is for Pakistani restaurant style hot and sour soup with chicken, vegetables and silky egg ribbons all combined together in a spicy tangy broth.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine Chinese, Indian, Pakistani
Keyword Indo Chinese, Soup Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 teaspoon crushed red chili paste see note 1
  • 1 small carrot (3/4 cup) julienned
  • 150 gram (1 cup) shredded cabbage
  • 1 ¼ cup boiled and shredded chicken see note 2
  • 3 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1⁄4 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs whisked

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken (or vegetable) stock in a medium sized pot on medium heat.

  2. Add salt, white pepper, red chili powder, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup and chili paste.
  3. Bring it to a boil, and then add the carrots, cabbage, and boiled chicken.

  4. Cook for about 5 – 8 minutes till the chicken and vegetables are warmed through, and then make a cornflour slurry dissolving the cornstarch with water.
  5. Add the cornflour slurry, and cook for about 2 minutes till the soup thickens.
  6. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Turn heat to low, and carefully add the eggs in the soup. Stir with a spoon till egg ribbons are formed. Adding the eggs will also thicken the soup.
  7. Serve hot with additional soy sauce, vinegar and chili paste on the side along with fish or prawn crackers.

Recipe Notes

  1. There are many versions of chili paste available in the supermarket – sambel olek, chili paste or crushed red chili paste. I use the one by Aldi but you can use whatever is available in your country. In case paste isn’t available chili sauce, chili garlic sauce or Sriracha sauce can be used but remember that the paste will usually be hotter than a sauce, so adjust quantity accordingly.
  2. Basic chicken cooked with salt and black pepper can be used in this recipe. The chicken can be sautéed in a pan, or boiled, or poached. The benefit of poaching the chicken is that the poaching liquid can be used as a stock. Leftover chicken pieces from making chicken yakhni (or chicken broth) can also be used in this recipe.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    jia
    February 1, 2021 at 2:40 am

    5 stars
    Chicken hot and sour soup
    its look yummy i will try tomorrow and give you return

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