Hot and Sour Soup (paleo, starch free, vegan option)

There was this Chinese Restaurant in Tigard, Oregon that my friends and I would dine at in Junior High. It was called Yans. And it was a block from the main bus stop / transfer station, and 2 blocks from a giant thrift store we loved to shop at. I was 13 years old, I had this huge crush on Kurt Cobain, and my friends and I tried to dress as “grungy” as we could. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and the Lemonheads were all the rage along with dingy flannel shirts and kitschy vintage tees.  We would often go into Yan’s for a large bowl of Hot and Sour Soup with a large side of white rice to pour it over and an endless pot of hot tea. Yan’s also had a great selection of gossip magazines that we would thumb through as we enjoyed the moment that was 1992.

In my teens when I was old enough to ride the city bus around town and start going to restaurants with friends, Hot and Sour Soup became my favorite dish to order out. For one thing, it was very affordable on my teenage budget! I used to order a large soup (take 1/2 of it home) and order a large side of white rice. I would pour the soup over the rice as a way to make it go further and turn it into a complete meal. Hot and Sour Soup was also my first introduction to tofu. I loved the soft chunks of tofu, crunchy “black fungus” aka wood ear, and bamboo shoots. To me, eating hot and sour soup was like dining on a mysterious dish full of hidden textures and treasures. I never much cared for the wisps of egg, and since those are a last minute addition, you can do this soup egg-free or add eggs on request for only those who want them. The egg flowers certainly look cool. Until I developed this recipe to satisfy my cravings, I had gone almost a decade without my favorite soup. After being hit with a chronic leaky gut, the auto-immune disease of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Colitis, I could no longer tolerate MSG or any soy based ingredients. I am so happy to say, Hello to this Pure & Simple Hot + Sour Soup!

I always make the largest batch possible and freeze it in individual serving mason jars which I thaw out on cold and rainy nights when I want something warm, deeply satisfying, and ready instantly. Feel free to adjust this recipe to suit your own taste buds, it can easily be made vegan, AIP, and/or starch free. Down below I have created a 2nd special ingredient list that is AIP compliant. I have created this recipe with ingredients most of us already have on hand, or can easily be found in any grocery store. Well, the konjac I did have to order online, but one $12 bottle will last at least a year and I use it quite a bit in other recipes, and ultimately this soup still tastes amazing without it. And the coconut aminos are my favorite soy-free, soy sauce replacement, and will likely only be found in health food stores, Whole Foods, or you can order here online. See my “starch notes” at the bottom of the page regarding Coconut Aminos, if you are highly sensitive to starch.

This soup pairs perfectly with my Paleo Egg Rolls & Sesame Sweet & Sour Chicken. ♥

Hot and Sour Soup ~ A satisfying Paleo Chinese Take-out Soup, easily made vegan , starch free, and/or AIP.

Hot + Sour Soup

 ingredients

NOTE: See AIP ingredient list down below if doing full AIP

  • 1 cup Shiitake mushrooms (can test starchy depending on where grown)
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 pound pastured pork, chicken, or shrimp (vegan: omit, or use other protein source)
  • 6 cups broth (use homemade bone broth or veggie broth)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (see starch notes below!) ( if using soy/tamari only use 1 or 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar or coconut vinegar)
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons konjac root powder [glucomannan] (this is a starch free thickener)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (starch free) ginger extract (or use 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • optional: 1 to 2 large pastured eggs
  • Garnish: 3 scallions (green onions) chopped + cilantro + Thai basil
  • Optional: hot chili oil or Sriracha sauce
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of Bamboo Shoots and/or Water Chestnuts (these are starchy)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of Wood Ear “black fungus”
  • 1 Tablespoons oil for pre-cooking meat

directions

  1. I find it easiest to cook the protein first in a little oil, and then slice it up into small pieces. Slicing cooked meat is so much easier and less messy then slicing raw meat. A lot of the time I find myself using leftover cooked pork or chicken in this dish anyhow. In a saute pan heat up some oil and cook the meat. If using shrimp, no need to pre-cook shrimp, it can cook right in the broth.
  2. While the meat is cooking off, I add the broth to a large pot or the slow cooker. I like to use homemade chicken stock for my base broth in this recipe.
  3. Thinly slice leeks (I cut them to mimic bamboo shoots). Thinly slice Shiitake mushrooms. Dice white button mushrooms.
  4. You are going to basically add all of the ingredients listed above into the soup pot or slow cooker, except the egg and fresh cilantro/scallions, these ingredients will be added at the very end.
  5. Special note regarding the konjac root powder. This is an excellent starch-free thickener that has 10 times the thickening power of corn starch. I recommend adding a teaspoon in the beginning, and then towards the end add a little more if needed for a thicker soup. You can also try adding in extra gelatin instead of the konjac for a richer, thicker soup. The best technique is to lightly sprinkle the konjac powder over the soup and quickly stir it in evenly. (Or see notes below for AIP version using arrowroot starch or tapioca starch to thicken)
  6. Slice the cooked pork/chicken into small bite size pieces, and then add to the soup.
  7. You can simmer this soup on the stove for an hour, or cook it on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours.
  8. At the last minute, you will scramble the eggs in a small bowl, and then slowly pour (drizzle) the eggs into the soup, as you are stirring the soup at the same time. This will create the wispy “egg flowers”.
  9. Taste test the soup. If needed, add more coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, and/or all 3 of the vinegars until you fall in love with the deep flavors of this soup. I find the balsamic vinegar to be a key ingredient for flavoring this soup, and a little goes a long way! The toasted sesame oil adds an authentic flavor too.
  10. Garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

AIP ingredient list

  • 1 cup Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 pound pastured pork, chicken, or wild caught shrimp (this would be a great soup to add in some organ meat like chopped liver or heart)
  • 6 cups bone broth
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon white vinegar (or coconut vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons arrowroot starch or tapioca starch to thicken (super starchy) (or add in extra gelatin for a richer broth)
    • If using arrowroot or tapioca stir with equal parts water in a small bowl to make a paste, then add to soup
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • Garnish: 3 scallions (green onions) + cilantro + Thai basil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of Bamboo Shoots and/or Water Chestnuts (these are starchy)
  • 1 Tablespoons oil/lard for pre-cooking meat

Hot and Sour Soup ~ A satisfying Paleo Chinese Take-out Soup, easily made vegan , starch free, and/or AIP.

Hot and Sour Soup ~ A satisfying Paleo Chinese Take-out Soup, easily made vegan , starch free, and/or AIP.

*Coconut Aminos Starch Notes: For those of you sensitive to starch, like I am due to having to live with the disease of Ankylosing Spondylitis in my body which is triggered by starch, I found that the Coconut Secrets, Coconut Aminos turned a dark black color when I tested it with iodine. This let me to contact the Coconut Secrets Company and ask what exactly goes into the Coconut Aminos. The answer is it is only made by fermenting the Coconut Nectar and Mineral Salt, both of which are not starchy. We exchanged emails back and forth but in the end could not identify why the coconut aminos does not pass the starch free test. My final assessment is “oh well”, I enjoy it anyways and it doesn’t trigger my AS. I also talked to some other long term AS Warriors who eat starch free, and they are able to eat the coconut aminos just fine too. Just wanted to share this, because if you test this soup with iodine, the coconut aminos will cause it to turn black.

Recipe shared at Real Food Recipe Wednesays + Paleo AIP Recipe Round Table + Allergy Free Wednesday + Savoring Saturdays + Real Food Fridays

26 thoughts on “Hot and Sour Soup (paleo, starch free, vegan option)

  1. This looks amazingly delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Interesting about the coconut aminos…I’ve never had a problem with it either. Thanks for doing the research.

  2. This looks amazingly delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Interesting about the coconut aminos…I’ve never had a problem with it either. Thanks for doing the research.

  3. I miss hot and sour soup! This sounds awesome! I am curious why you didn’t include the konjac root powder in the AIP ingredient list – what about it is not AIP?

    1. Hi Kitty!

      I wasn’t able to locate konjac as an allowable food for AIP, so I didn’t include it in the AIP ingredient list. I have personally had really great results using konjac as a starch-free binder and thickener, and love using it.

      I think this soup is still fabulous without any thickener at all, though it’s hard to tell it apart from the restaurant version when you do thicken it.

      I hope you enjoy this soup!

      Andrea

  4. I miss hot and sour soup! This sounds awesome! I am curious why you didn’t include the konjac root powder in the AIP ingredient list – what about it is not AIP?

    1. Hi Kitty!

      I wasn’t able to locate konjac as an allowable food for AIP, so I didn’t include it in the AIP ingredient list. I have personally had really great results using konjac as a starch-free binder and thickener, and love using it.

      I think this soup is still fabulous without any thickener at all, though it’s hard to tell it apart from the restaurant version when you do thicken it.

      I hope you enjoy this soup!

      Andrea

  5. I miss hot and sour soup! This sounds awesome! I am curious why you didn’t include the konjac root powder in the AIP ingredient list – what about it is not AIP?

    1. Hi Kitty!

      I wasn’t able to locate konjac as an allowable food for AIP, so I didn’t include it in the AIP ingredient list. I have personally had really great results using konjac as a starch-free binder and thickener, and love using it.

      I think this soup is still fabulous without any thickener at all, though it’s hard to tell it apart from the restaurant version when you do thicken it.

      I hope you enjoy this soup!

      Andrea

  6. Hi Andrea,
    What delicious looking recipes. These soups all sound so healthy and tasty. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted!

    1. Thank you Marla! It’s been total “soup weather” here the past couple weeks, but I can feel warmer spring weather around the corner!

  7. Yes please! This looks so good! My husband would be so happy if I made this for him. Thanks so much for sharing this at Savoring Saturdays linky party! Hope you’ll join us again.

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