Hot and Sour Soup is high in flavor, low in sodium

03/05/2013 1:00 PM

05/16/2014 9:22 PM

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared Feb. 6, 2008.

Chinese take-out may seem like a healthier choice than burgers, pasta or pizza.


Center for Science in the Public Interest

, a watchdog consumer group that made news for calling fettuccine Alfredo a heart attack on a plate, gives Chinese food a general thumbs-up.

Except when it comes to sodium.

CSPI’s independent lab analysis of dishes on a typical Chinese restaurant menu found the standard Hot and Sour Soup clocked in at a whopping 1,100 milligrams of sodium. That’s almost the government’s recommended 1,500 milligrams a day.

The Star’s Hot and Sour Soup uses a combination of low-sodium chicken broth and reduced-sodium soy sauce to whittle the sodium to a more moderate 310 milligrams. Yet there’s still plenty of flavor, thanks to the seasonings: ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

Tofu, which acts like a sponge and soaks up the flavorings of the soup, is naturally low in sodium, high in protein and cholesterol-free.

Mushrooms add texture and interest to the soup, as well as riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6. Mushrooms are also an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that maintains blood pressure, and they are one of the richest vegetable sources of selenium, which may protect against cancer and heart disease.


Storage tip:

Tofu is highly perishable and should be refrigerated no more than a week.

Hot and Sour Soup Makes 6 servings 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth 2 cups water, divided 1 teaspoon minced ginger-root 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced 6 ounces reduced-fat firm tofu, drained well and cut into 1/4-inch cubes 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons cornstarch 2 egg whites, lightly beaten 3 green onions, minced 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine chicken broth, 1 3/4 cups water, ginger and garlic in Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and reduce heat to a simmer; cook 5 minutes.

Add tofu, vinegar, red pepper flakes and soy sauce. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup water with cornstarch; blend well. Stir cornstarch mixture into soup and simmer 3 minutes or until soup thickens. Slowly pour egg whites into broth, stirring constantly. Add green onions and sesame oil. Heat through and ladle into serving bowls.

Per (1-cup) serving: 146 calories (14 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 310 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.


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