Hot-and-Sour Meatball Soup


This version of hot-and-sour soup from Food & Wine’s Laura Rege is light and brothy, with juicy little shrimp-and-pork meatballs throughout. Slideshow: More Meatball Soup Recipes 

Hot-and-Sour Meatball Soup
Eastern Chinese cuisine features a lot of sweet-and-sour, mostly derived from Chinkiang vinegar, better known as black vinegar. Resembling soy sauce, it is made from glutinous rice and cereal grains, and is even milder in its acidity than most Japanese rice vinegars but with a deeper flavor, making it great for braises and glazes. Sesame oil, traditionally used in Chinese cooking, has a rich mouthfeel that helps give body to black vinegar.Our favorite bottles: Hegshun Chinkiang Zhenjiang 6 Year Aged Black Vinegar,$16 at Kadoya Sesame Oil,$6.50 at jet.comUse them in:Hot-and-sour meatball soup. Photo: Abby Hocking / Food & Wine
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 3/4 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms

  • Three 1-inch pieces peeled ginger, 2 pieces cut into thin matchsticks

  • 2 scallions, chopped, plus thinly sliced scallions for garnish

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1/2 pound fatty ground pork

  • 6 tablespoons black vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • White pepper

  • 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • One 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


  1. In a small heatproof bowl, cover the mushrooms with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the uncut piece of ginger with the chopped scallions and garlic. Add the shrimp and pulse to chop. Scrape the mixture into a bowl; fold in the pork, 1 tablespoon of the black vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Roll into twenty 1-inch balls; transfer to a baking sheet.

  3. In a large pot, bring the stock and half of the ginger matchsticks to a simmer over moderately high heat. Using a circular motion, pour the beaten egg into the broth. Wait 5 seconds, then stir the broth to distribute the egg throughout. Add the meatballs, drained mushrooms, tofu and bamboo shoots and simmer over moderate heat until the meatballs are just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, the sesame oil and a pinch of pepper. Season with salt.

  4. In a small bowl, stir the remaining ginger matchsticks into the remaining 2 tablespoons of black vinegar. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with sliced scallions and serve hot with the ginger-vinegar mixture.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.

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