Hot & Sour Soup with Crab

January/February 1993

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

A favorite Sichuan-style opener becomes a main course with the addition of crabmeat. Dried tiger-lily buds (also called Golden Needles), cloud ears and Sichuan peppercorns can be found in Aisan markets or ordered from or

"A rather labor-intensive recipe, but worth the effort for a special occasion-- provided you can obtain some of the esoteric ingredients. Expect to take close to an hour in prep time. "
Hot & Sour Soup with Crab

Makes: 8 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 6 scallions, trimmed, divided
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 thin slices unpeeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dried tiger-lily buds
  • 1/4 cup dried cloud ears
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup drained, canned bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 6 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar, or distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan pepper, or white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Thinly slice 2 scallions; set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining scallions into 3-inch lengths and put in a large saucepan, along with broth, ginger and crushed peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, discarding spices.
  2. Meanwhile, put tiger-lily buds and cloud ears in separate small bowls; cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 to 25 minutes, or until softened. Drain. Cut tough ends off the tiger-lily buds and chop cloud ears coarsely. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or heavy stockpot over high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add bamboo shoots, the reserved cloud ears and tiger-lily buds; stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Add the strained broth and tofu; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  4. Dissolve cornstarch in water in a small bowl; add to the soup and cook for 1 minute, stirring, to thicken. Add crabmeat, vinegar, ground pepper and sesame oil; heat through.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat and while stirring, slowly pour in beaten egg. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional Sichuan or white pepper and vinegar, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with reserved scallions and serve extra vinegar on the side.

Tips & Notes

  • Dried tiger-lily buds, cloud ears and Sichuan peppercorns can be found in Chinese markets or ordered from: The Oriental Pantry, 423 Great Road, Acton, Massachusetts 01720, (800) 828-0368.


Per serving: 123 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 46 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 13 g protein; 2 g fiber; 412 mg sodium; 52 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate

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