This vegan hot and sour soup is made with crispy tofu, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, simmered up in a spicy, gingery broth.
My family didn't eat much Chinese food when I was growing up. I'd hang out with friends' families who'd take me to the Chinese buffets, where I'd simply stare, perplexed as to what could be in all of these strange looking food items, before settling on some wontons and egg rolls. Can't go wrong with fried stuff when you're a kid!
When I reached my late teens and early twenties, people began to assume I was well versed in the typical Chinese restaurant menu. Why wouldn't I be? Not only was Chinese food an American favorite, but I was a vegetarian, and that stuff was loaded with veggies. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that this was news to me.
So I went and I tried out a few of these Chinese places I'd been intimidated by for so long. I remained intimidated for a bit, and for a while I was too nervous to order anything but veggie lo mein. Eventually I branched out though. Hot and sour soup was one of my first shots at this. I loved hot, loved sour, and this soup had tofu! I was hooked, and this one has remained a favorite. When I lived in Philadelphia I would stop by an Asian market near my apartment, almost daily, and grab a quick cup for a dollar ninety-nine.
I eventually came up with my own recipe for vegan hot and sour soup, and it's been a lasting favorite. I start with a basic recipe, and add whatever veggies I happen to have a hankering for on that day. Carrots, water chestnuts, snow peas, and all sorts of greens go well. For this particular version I went with bok choy, which worked out excellently!
This post originally published on Connoisseurus Veg on May 9, 2013. Updated February 13, 2017.
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup with Bok Choy
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 8 ounces can bamboo shoots, sliced
- 1 14 ounce block of firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 medium bunch bok choy, green parts only, sliced into strips
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Asian chili paste, or to taste
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup cold water
- 6 scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds for topping, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for about one minute, being careful to avoid burning.
Add broth, raise heat, and bring to boil. Lower heat and add mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and simmer for about ten minutes.
While your broth simmers away, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook on each side until it begins to brown. Remove it from the pan and transfer to a plate.
Once the broth has simmered for ten minutes, stir in the bok choy, vinegar, chili paste, soy sauce and sugar. Simmer an additional ten minutes. Taste test the broth and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Add tofu and cornstarch mixture into the broth, stir well, and remove from heat.
Stir in the scallions and cilantro, setting just a bit of each aside.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with remaining scallions and cilantro, and optionally, a few sesame seeds.