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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.


  • For the soup base

  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil

  • 2 handfuls fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced or 1 small handful of dried Chinese mushrooms, pre-soaked and sliced

  • 2.5cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon shaoshing rice wine or dry sherry

  • 700ml vegetable stock

  • 1 small tin bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon cornflour blended with 2 tablespoons cold water

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar

  • Pinch of ground white pepper

  • For the pots

  • 200g cooked egg noodles

  • 2 small handfuls beansprouts

  • 8 fresh babycorn, sliced

  • 1 spring onion, sliced

  • 100g shredded cooked chicken


  • 1.

    Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and then stir fry the ginger and mushrooms until softened. Add the chilli, shaoshing rice wine, hot vegetable stock, bamboo shoots and the

  • 2.

    Seasonings. Bring to the boil, thicken with cornflour and set to one side on a low heat.

  • 3.

    In some plastic pots - layer some cooked egg noodles, raw beansprouts, raw sliced babycorn and spring onions. Top with shredded chicken. Then spoon plenty of the soup base over the

  • 4.

    Ingredients. Give the noodle pot or bowl a good stir and eat immediately.



  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.

  • Use msg free products where possible.

  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.

  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.

  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible
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