Hot-and-sour tofu stew

Total Time
35 min
15 min
20 min
This classic soup is always a good idea, whether you’re serving it for lunch or dinner. Dried mushrooms are great in soups because the flavor is slightly more concentrated than fresh, but they do need to be soaked in hot water before using them. The rehydrating process plumps the mushrooms and removes some of the grit. After soaking, you may need to thoroughly rinse the mushrooms to make sure you’ve gotten it all. Wood-ear mushrooms, also known as cloud-ear mushrooms, can be found in the produce department of most supermarkets. Tofu provides high-quality protein and absorbs all the wonderful flavors of the broth.


Dried mushrooms

¾ oz, package, wood-ear variety

Peanut oil

2 tsp

Uncooked scallion(s)

4 medium, chopped


2 medium clove(s), minced

Ginger root

1 tsp, fresh, peeled and minced

Dried shiitake mushroom(s)

½ pound(s), fresh, stems discarded, caps sliced

Uncooked carrot(s)

2 medium, cut into matchstick-thin strips

Vegetable broth

4 cup(s), low-sodium

Rice vinegar

3 Tbsp

Low sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp

Dark sesame oil

1 tsp

Low-fat tofu

½ pound(s), soft, drained and cut into1⁄2-inch cubes

Red pepper flakes

¼ tsp

Fresh spinach

6 oz, fresh, baby leaves, chopped


2 Tbsp


1 large egg(s)


  1. Combine the dried mushrooms with enough hot water to cover by about 2 inches in a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, then drain and coarsely chop.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the scallions just begin to wilt, about 30 seconds. Add the shiitake mushrooms and carrots. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the broth, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil; bring to a boil. Add the drained dried mushrooms, tofu, and crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer about 6 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt, about 1 minute.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl; stir in about 1⁄4 cup of the hot liquid, then return to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 minute; remove from the heat. Lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water; slowly pour in a stream into the stew while stirring constantly, until the egg sets in shreds. Serve at once. Yields 2 1/2 cups per serving.