Chinese-style soups feature distinct, soothing flavors that can warm up a chilly night and fill a hungry belly. When you're craving takeout, but you don't want to shell out the cash for delivery, try whipping up a Chinese restaurant-style soup right at home.
- Hot and Sour Soup: Unlike other Sichuan dishes, this classic soup gets its heat from white pepper. There are many versions of hot and sour soup and most of which contain wood ear, tofu, carrot, and pork. This version of this popular soup uses red rice vinegar which is available at Chinese/Asian markets, but you can also black vinegar or white rice vinegar. If you like your hot and sour soup extra sour, add vinegar right at the end and cook for less time. If you're suffering from a cold, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped ginger and garlic to the broth.
- Wonton Soup: A popular Chinese restaurant dish, the name wonton means swallowing a cloud, and the wontons floating in this popular soup are thought to resemble clouds. You can make your own wontons from scratch or, for a much easier dinner, buy frozen wontons and add them to the simmering broth. Wontons are typically made with pork, shrimp, or both, while the broth is seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sherry, and white pepper.
- Egg Drop Soup: Egg drop soup is one of the simplest yet most satisfying soups to make at home. It simply requires seasoning chicken or vegetable broth—if you have a homemade broth, it's all the better, but storebought works, too. The beaten eggs thicken the broth, but you can also thicken it with cornstarch or potato flour. Simply add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or potato flour to chicken broth, whisking it, and adding it to the soup pot. Don't skip adding green onions to the soup at the end of cooking—it really finishes off the authentic flavor.
- Cream Corn Soup (With Crabmeat): Traditionally, this warming Cantonese soup is prepared in the same way as “Chicken Velvet” by chopping the meat or seafood into small pieces and mixing it with egg whites, liquid, and cornstarch. This recipe for Cream Corn Soup is much simpler - the cornstarch and water mixture is used as a thickener, and the egg whites are streamed into the hot broth before serving, just like in Egg Drop Soup. If you are not a fan of crabmeat, replace it with ham or chicken.
- Red Bean Soup: While Sweet Red Bean Soup, made with Azuki beans, isn't a dish you'll see on many Chinese takeout menus, it's an authentic and sweet dessert soup. The dried tangerine peel used in the soup is meant to aid digestion. Although it's a dessert soup, it's not overly sweet—it just has a hint of sugar that gives the soup a complex flavor.
- Winter Melon Soup: This popular dish features the mild sweet taste of winter melon, which is available at Asian markets. It resembles an oblong watermelon that doesn't have the same characteristic green striations down the rind. Normally in the East, Chinese and Taiwanese households make this soup with pork ribs and pork broth, but you can use chicken broth as well.