Fragrant Hot and Sour Soup, known as Sanrantan (サンランタン) in Japan is a delicious soup that uses vinegar, chili oil, and white pepper to provide the signature flavor. The fragrance is provided mostly by sesame oil although many other ingredients contribute to both the flavor and the aroma of this favorite.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and ate something delicious that you wanted to make at home for yourself? For me, it was Hot and Sour Soup. The fragrant aroma and delicious taste was something I always wanted to reproduce. I was able to find some recipes but nothing that really got me to the taste I was after. Over time I was able to find a starting recipe and refine it to where I think it is darn close to perfect.
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup is flavored with Chinese Black Vinegar to give it a sour taste, and white pepper to give it the heat. You can add more or less of either ingredient to suit your own taste. There is also sesame oil and chili oil in the soup which imparts a very fragrant aroma to the dish. Hot and sour soup also includes lilly buds which are purchased dry and have to be rehydrated, and wood ear mushrooms (a black fungus that grows on trees) which can be purchased dehydrated dry or fresh.
In Japan, Fragrant Hot and Sour Soup often is poured over udon noodles and served as a complete meal.
The soup itself is very easy to make and takes just about 30 minutes to cook once you have all the ingredients. I highly recommend this exotic and delicious soup. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
(Originally published November 2021, Updated November 2022)