Fast Hot and Sour Noodle Soup

This is one of my favourite soups - 'Suan la tang' means 'sour hot soup'. Originating from the Sichuan province, this dish uses plenty of chillies and black rice vinegar for the 'sour'. You can vary the recipe to your taste and adjust the amount of chillies to your preference. You could also omit the chicken strips if you are vegetarian. I love this soup; it is earthy from the fragrant Chinese mushrooms and very warming on a cold winter's day. Forget instant noodles - this is a fast and healthier alternative.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Soup Base

1 tablespoon groundnut oil (peanut)

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 

2 handfuls fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced or 1 small handful dried Chinese mushrooms, reconstituted and sliced

1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped 

1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

3 cups vegetable stock, hot

1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon black rice vinegar (recommended: Chinkiang) or balsamic vinegar

Pinch freshly cracked white pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch, blended with 2 tablespoons cold water

For service

7 ounces cooked egg noodles

2 small handfuls bean sprouts

8 fresh baby corns, sliced, see Cooke's Notes

1 spring onion, sliced

3 1/2 ounces cooked chicken, shredded


  1. For the soup base: Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil, and stir-fry the ginger and mushrooms until softened. Add the chile, Shaohsing rice wine, hot vegetable stock, bamboo shoots, soy sauces, black rice vinegar and the white pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, thicken with the cornstarch slurry and set aside over low heat.
  2. For service: In some plastic pots, layer some of the cooked egg noodles with the raw bean sprouts, raw sliced baby corn, and spring onions. Top everything with the shredded chicken, and then spoon plenty of the soup base over the ingredients. Give the noodle pot or bowl a good stir, and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

Can be found at specialty Asian markets.