Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe

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Chinese hot and sour soup was usually one of the classics I ordered whenever we went to a Chinese restaurant before I went keto.

But once I was a bit more conscious about what I was eating I stopped eating out almost completely, especially at Chinese restaurants where the food choices for anyone on the ketogenic diet are pretty meager.

While I don’t believe that the classic restaurant version of Chinese hot and sour soup is unhealthy per se, I do believe it contains a lot of unnecessary sugar, starch, and other questionable additives.

And because you have no idea how much of every ingredient was added, you can’t make sure it won’t kick you out of ketosis.
That’s always the problem when eating out on the ketogenic diet.

Well, a while ago I really craved a bowl of Chinese hot and sour soup and I could have gotten one from a restaurant a few streets down for approx. 2$ but I really didn’t want to kick myself out of ketosis for it.

So I started to research and develop a keto-friendly version of it.
A healthy, nutritious and low carb one without added sugar.

To be honest, I’m almost surprised by how good the result is.
I thought it would taste not flavorful enough if I didn’t add any sugar or flavor enhancers but I was completely wrong.

I really couldn’t tell the difference.
It tastes exactly like the memory of Chinese hot and sour soup I have in my head.
(Granted, I haven’t had one for 2 years or so.)

The spices are everything in this dish and are the key for a flavorful, Chinese hot and sour soup.
And with only 3.3g net carbs, it’s 100% suitable for the ketogenic diet.

Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe
Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe


You can find the exact amounts needed on the recipe card at the end of this post!

This section is where I give specific recommendations or more in-depth instructions regarding the ingredients needed for this recipe.

  • high-quality chicken:
    in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what part of the chicken you’re using.
    I used chicken drums and thought it was an excellent choice.

    Boiling chicken breasts can be a bit tricky because they can dry out and become “rubbery”.
    I prefer fattier parts of the chicken with the skin.

  • one onion:
    cut in half – we’ll be adding the onion together with part of the ginger to the boiling water for more flavor!
  • one red bell pepper: sliced into thin strips
  • one carrot: peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • bamboo shoots:
    good-sorted supermarkets should have them in jars or cans, otherwise you can get them from asian grocery stores.
    Also sliced into thin strips.
  • shiitake mushrooms: fresh or dried.
    I used dried shiitake mushrooms for this recipe because fresh ones weren’t available near me and I had to rehydrate them in water for approx. 45-60 minutes.

    ☝︎ Read the instructions on the packaging if you use dried shiitake mushrooms and adjust accordingly.
    Some brands require shorter rehydration times of only 30 minutes while others require even longer times + additional boiling of the mushrooms.

  • eggs: two whole eggs (prefarably organic and high-quality)
  • spices: (gluten-free) soy sauce, rice vinegar, white pepper, paprika powder, one fresh chili pepper, fresh ginger and garlic, salt to taste and green onion for garnishing.

    ☝︎ The white pepper is pretty important for the flavor, so I wouldn’t swap it for black pepper.

  • keto-friendly thickening agent: I usually use locust bean gum powder or guar gum powder.

    If you use another thickening agent, you may have to adjust the amount!
    Make sure your thickening agent is gluten-free if you’re sensitive!

Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe


If you use dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrate them before you start preparing the rest of the recipe.

Read the packaging instructions of the brand you chose to find out the exact instructions – they can vary heavily.

I had to soak my shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 60 minutes, depending on what brand you’re using you may have to let them soak shorter or longer.

1. Boil the chicken:
Add the chicken, onion, and part of the ginger (exact amount given on recipe card) into a large pot and cover with approx. 2l of water.

Bring to a boil and cook for 30-45 minutes, depending on what cuts of the chicken you’re using.

After that time, your chicken should be tender enough for you to easily scrape it off the bones.

2. Cut the vegetables and prepare chili paste:
While the chicken is boiling, chop the carrot, bell pepper, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms into thin strips and set aside.

I prefer to fry my shiitake mushrooms with a bit of oil in a large pan or wok for a few minutes until lightly roasted, but this step is optional.

Chop the chili pepper, remaining ginger and garlic into rough pieces and add them into a mortar together with some coarse-grained salt.
Pestle until you get a smooth chili paste.

3. Prepare rest of the soup:
Remove the chicken from the pot and scrape off the flesh from the bones.
Cut the flesh into small pieces.

Before adding the chicken back into the pot, remove the ginger pieces and onion from the boiling water and discard of them.
Add the vegetables to the boiling water as well.

Season the soup with the chili paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, white pepper, paprika powder, and salt to taste.
Let simmer for 10-15 more minutes.

4. Stir in the eggs:
Beat the two eggs in a bowl and stir the soup in circular motions until you create a “whirl”.
Pour the beaten eggs into the soup while you continue to stir.

Let simmer for 1-2 minutes before continuing to the next step.

5. Add thickening agent:
Add your preferred keto-friendly thickening agent to the soup and give the soup a good last stir.
Wait until the soup has the desired slightly thick consistency.

6. Serve:
Serve the soup immediately garnished with a bit of sliced green onion.

Nutrition info:
One serving of this soup (1 1/4 cup or 315 ml) has 3.3g net carbs (5.1g total carbs and 1.8g dietary fiber), 8.5g fat, 14.7g protein and 157 calories.

(I try to be as accurate as possible with this information, but values may vary because of natural occurring fluctuations and different products used.)


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Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe
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Keto-Friendly Chinese Hot And Sour Soup Recipe

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