Our Low Fat Hot and Sour Soup

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Our Low Fat Hot and Sour Soup.

Hot and Sour Soup variation by Sherry Atbutterfly and my daughter IoBlue [her pen name].

I LOVE Hot and Sour soup! I cannot remember when I first had it but I am guessing I was about 30ish when my boyfriend and I started to go to the local and extended area restaurants trying out their ‘house’ Hot and Sour soup. Each restaurant had their own version! It was the one soup that he loved to order and make at home. I soon fell in love with the soup and him!

Our Low Fat Hot and Sour Soup


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 10

  • 8 oz fresh Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon powdered Ginger AND
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste OR use 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced in place of the paste and dry ginger
  • ½ Teaspoon dry red pepper flakes
  • 1 can of sliced water chestnuts
  • ½ cup canned Bamboo Shoots, sliced
  • 4 or 5 links Aidells© Chicken with Apple less smoked Sausage, cut into coins
  • ¼ cup regular or Lite Soy Sauce [less if want, start with 1 tablespoon and add more until you are happy with it]
  • ½ cup Rice Vinegar or any Vinegar [except red]
  • 1 teaspoon salt [can be omitted or smaller amount]
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 quarts Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup chopped carrots - she made them pretty small about ¼ inch by ⅓ inch blocks
  • 6 stalks and leaves Bok Choy Cabbage chopped and divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water
  • 6 Chopped Green Onions divided - cook the white, greens for the garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha© sauce
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro for garnish to taste
  1. Sauté mushrooms then add the bamboo shoots, ginger paste (or fresh minced ginger root), Sriracha sauce, water chestnuts, white part of the green onions and white part of the bok choy and cook one minute to infuse the flavors.
  2. Then add the remaining spices, soy sauce and vinegar, chicken stock, carrots, and the cut up sausage. If you are using bulk sausage you will need to cook it first then add it at this point.
  3. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the carrots are tender or about 20 minutes depending upon the size of the carrots.
  4. Lastly add green part of the chopped bok choy and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Add the cornstarch and water mixture and stir until thickened and it is ready to eat.
  6. Top each serving with green onions and cilantro for those who like it. Reheat on stove or microwave and top with the green onions and cilantro.

My daughter’s recipe can be adapted easily for vegetarian version. Omit the meat and use tofu, substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock. The real hot and sour soup adds a scrambled egg to the mix at the very end which you drizzle in slowly and it cooks in threads. I have not tried the tofu sausage, that could be an option as well.

We lived fairly close to San Francisco and got our ingredients there in Chinatown after having a meal in one of the restaurants. He got several woks and bamboo steamers and as well as other supplies. He had a gas Wolf Range© that he got when he bought a vacation property with a restaurant, a house and cabins back in the 1980s in the bay area of California. He used all the restaurant kitchen equipment and remodeled his home with the 4 burner gas Wolf Range and grill with oven, and part of the steam table. It was a great kitchen that I got to play in when he and I got married.

Since then, some 30 years later, I always order the hot and sour soup when I am out. I had assisted my husband many times with his soup, otherwise I did most of the cooking then.

Tyler Florence's Hot and Sour soupWhen I moved in with my youngest daughter who was an adult in 2011, I asked her to make me some hot and sour soup. We found this recipe on the Food Network. We made it different and below is what she did. This is the photo for Tyler Florence’s recipe.

We found Aidells© Chicken Sausage and decided to try that in the recipe. She also used Italian Bulk sausage that is low fat about 90% lean. Both come out really well.

Here are the ingredients in Aidells© Chicken Sausage:
Chicken, dried apples, salt, fruit juice concentrate (apple, pineapple, pear, and peach),
spices and celery powder, in a pork casing.

Photo of packaged ingredients minus fresh vegetables:


12 ounce package of Aidells© Chicken Sausage contains 4 links or 3 oz each link [we found the pkg with 5 links]
One link is 180 calories, Calories from fat =110, Total fat =12 g
Saturated fat = 3.5 grams, Trans fat = 0 grams,
Cholesterol 85 mg, Sodium 640 mg, Total carbohydrate = 3 g
Dietary fiber less than 1 g, Sugars 2 g, Protein 12 grams.

In comparison 3 oz of regular bulk Pork Sausage has:
Calories – 259
Calories from Fat – 203
Total Fat – 22.56g Saturated Fat 7.485g
Polyunsaturated Fat – 3.157g
Monounsaturated Fat – 10.116g
Cholesterol 61 mg Sodium – 541 mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g Dietary Fiber – 0g
Sugars – 0g
Protein – 12.83g

Our version of the Low Fat Hot and Sour Soup

My daughter used regular white button mushrooms. She used Ginger that was already processed in a tube. Instead of Red Chile paste she used dry Chile flakes. Instead of Barbecued Pork she used Aidells© Chicken with Apple smoked Sausages. She used Chicken Stock from the box – Kirkland© brand. She used green onions and cilantro. In addition to the above she added carrots, and Bok Choy at my request. She omitted the Tofu and the egg. The knack of adding that egg is tricky! My husband had a tough time of it as well! We also added Sriracha© brand hot sauce.

At Betty Foo Hunan online is a good recipe as well with the Day-Lily Buds. My husband always added the Day-Lily buds.

Funny – I went to a restaurant in Western Washington State where I was living and the owner had a market next door to the restaurant where she sold ingredients to make Asian foods. I asked her if she had some day lily buds for the hot and hour soup and she said that it was NOT used in hot and sour soup. Each province has their own ideas of the soup.

Whether you want tofu or not, or want to make it vegan or vegetarian you can change and omit things to suit your desires. The main flavor comes from the hot and sour of the ginger, vinegar and the hot spices. The meat is optional. I had some vegetarian hot and sour soup from a local Chinese restaurant that had tofu and used snow peas and some other veggies and it was great! I am not sure what they used for the broth, perhaps some vegetable-mushroom clear broth they make in advance. The restaurant had a lot of vegan and vegetarian on the menu.

I like the pork but wanted to cut back on the fat content so I liked Aidells Chicken Apple smoked sausage my daughter had been getting lately. So I call the soup low fat for that reason.

In the comments at the Food Network people who cooked Tyler’s recipe said they added more vinegar. I always added more vinegar at the restaurant as well as more hot oil when the food was served.

Aidells has other flavors of their sausages and we have added them to this soup and they are great in the soup and with other dishes my daughter makes for us.

Other flavors are: Artichoke & Garlic, Cajun Style Andouille, Chorizo [great with eggs!], Habanero & Green Chile, Italian Style with Mozzarella Cheese, Mango, Organic Chicken & Apple, Organic Spinach & Feta, Organic Sun-Dried Tomato, Organic Sweet Basil & Roasted Garlic, Pineapple & Bacon [real bacon], Portobello & Swiss Cheese [with Chicken], Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese, Spicy Mango with Jalapeño, and Spinach & Feta.

We have not tried all of them yet, but the ones we have had so far are all really good! All have Chicken in them as the base.

Changes my daughter made from Tyler’s recipe:
* Instead of the dry fungus mushrooms she used fresh mushrooms.
* Instead of the fresh ginger she used a ginger that came in a tube that was already crushed and minced.
* Instead of the red chile paste she used dry red pepper flakes.
* Instead of the barbecued pork she used Aidell’s Chicken with Apple smoked sausage links cut into coins.
* She omitted the egg, and tofu.
* Instead of homemade chicken stock, she used Kirkland brand chicken stock.
* She added the white part of the green onions, carrots, bok choy and water chestnuts.

Photos of food prep and cooking:

Chop mushrooms

chop mushrooms

Saute mushrooms in a large soup or stock pot or Dutch oven

mushrooms in pan

Bok choy cabbage cut, chop both green and white parts

bok choy

Chopped white parts of the bok choy


Mushrooms sauted

saute mushrooms first

Add the white parts of the bok choy and saute, add green onions and saute

saute 2

After all ingredients are added, simmer

final soup

Serve in bowl, add more chopped green onions and chopped cilantro – place extra vinegar and Mongolian hot oil for individual use, there was no cilantro when we made this batch

soup in the bowl sm

That’s my favorite bowl with the butterfly’s and my daughter’s hen and rooster salt and pepper shakers.

We freeze the leftovers in 1.5 cup or serving size containers – leave a space for expansion in container if freezing, add cooled containers in refrigerator, and freeze a few hours later. I usually finish it off pretty fast, but freezes well for a few months.

Any version is good, the ginger, vinegar and hot oil is what makes the flavor of this soup unique.

As my favorite cook, Julia Child use to say ~ Bon Appetit!


Sherry Atbutterfly enjoys crafting with Plastic Canvas and yarn to make all kinds of decorations and fun items for the home. Many of her craft articles feature detailed tutorials and lengthy instructions. This is what she loves to do, She is a teacher. She is also involved with Early American History, Family History and genealogy. Sherry is legally blind.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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