Hot and Sour Soup


Hot and Sour Soup Recipe for Cancer and Chemotherapy

Ease of Preparation: Easy Recipe

Dish Description:

The Chinese restaurant classic! Spicy, Savory, and a little sour. It is most definitely an acquired taste, but once you develop your palate for this soup you will find yourself craving it on cold winter days!

Tasting Guidelines:

Taste is spicy, savory, and sour.

Weight is medium.

Texture is soft and soupy.

Best categorized as Chinese American.

Food Ingredients:

4 ounces firm tofu, Sliced into 1/4” x 1/4” x1” strips

2/3 cup wood ear mushrooms, Chopped fine

½ cup bamboo shoots, thin julienne

½ cup carrots, thin julienne

2 Tbsp. Cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. Water (cornstarch slurry)

3 eggs, scrambled smooth (uncooked)

3 quarts hot water

Flavor Balancers:

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup sugar

½ tablespoon black pepper, ground

1 teaspoon black pepper, ground

2 Chinese red peppers

½ tablespoon white pepper, ground

Recipe Directions:

In a large spaghetti pot bring water to a boil. Add all flavor balancers and return to a boil. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrots. Return to a boil, and allow to boil together about 30 minutes. Taste soup for flavor. Soup should be savory, spicy, and sour with a touch of sweetness to mellow the soup. If flavor is correct, stir in the cornstarch slurry, and return to a boil for 5 min to thicken the soup. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly stir in tofu, cover with a lid and allow to simmer 15 additional minutes. Remove pot from heat. Put eggs into a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout. Slowly pour scrambled eggs into broth. The key is to create thin long ribbons of eggs. This is achieved by pouring the eggs out slowly in a long ribbon-like motion. Start at one end of the pot, begin to slowly pour and move your hand to the other side of the pot. Then stop pouring at the other end. Use a fork or preferably, chop sticks to slowly move ribbons of egg through the soup. Do not whisk, Do not return to a boil. Repeat this motion allowing the egg to cook for about 30 seconds in-between ribbons. After egg has been added and cooked, give it a good stir and it is ready to serve!

Chef Recipe Tips:

Using exact proportions of Sugar and Vinegar allows the soup to be sour but balanced. If the soup isn’t sour enough add extra vinegar to add that refreshing sour pop.

If Wood Ear mushrooms are unavailable in your area baby bella (crimini) mushrooms are an effective and flavorful substitution.

Wood Ear mushrooms have a unique flavor and texture. Un-cooked they are not very aromatic or flavorful with a texture akin to rubber. But when you cook them down they develop a rich almost beefy flavor, and a jelly-like texture. This is why I recommend chopping them as finely as possible, they release more flavor this way and there is no strange texture to notice!


Cooking for Chemo focuses on teaching you how to make your food taste good again during cancer and chemotherapy treatments. The flavor and cooking techniques contained within our easy to make recipes will help improve your quality of life as you go through cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Our cooking and flavor techniques can be integrated with any diet regimine. All of our recipes can be made with organic ingredients if you choose. Our holistic approach to cooking will help you not only be able to eat but to also enjoy the taste of your food again during and after cancer and chemotherapy treatments. We have many healthy recipes, crockpot recipes, chicken recipes, dinner recipes, shrimp recipes, pasta recipes, soup recipes, vegan recipes, salad recipes, vegetarian recipes, breakfast recipes, and even a great chili recipe. Talk with your oncologist and dietitian to come up with a quality nutrition plan. This site is not to be taken as or used instead of professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor, oncologist, and dietitian before starting any new diet.

This recipe is taken from Cooking for Chemo …and After! By Chef Ryan Callahan -The Cancer Chef. For more cooking for chemotherapy recipes like this, you can pick up a copy on Amazon. Have specific questions? Email us at cookingforchemo@gmail.com

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a classically trained chef with fifteen years of culinary experience. He is also the author of "Cooking for Chemo ...and After!" Chef Ryan acted as his mother's primary caregiver while she herself went through chemotherapy treatments.