Once-a-month Savory-Sour Vegetarian Noodle Soup

Preparation info

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  • Serves


    as a main

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On the fifteenth of every month in the lunar calendar, when the moon is full and at its roundest, my family has a tradition of being vegetarian. This tradition originated from my grandmother, a devout Buddhist. She and many of the faith believe that if you are Buddhist and not completely vegetarian, it is important to give up meat for one day of the month to reconnect with the ideal behind Buddhism, which is to be compassionate to all living beings including animals. This is our family vegetarian recipe. It is a clear soup broth made with lots of Napa cabbage, crunchy woodear mushrooms, earthy Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots and fresh beancurd (dofu or tofu) combined with clear mung bean noodles in a seasoned savory and sour broth. It is much like the hot and sour soup or Suan La Tang served in Chinese restaurants. Add a chili or two if you wish.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ Napa cabbage, chopped into ¾ in strips
  • small handful of woodear mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes, chopped into long strips
  • 3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes, chopped into long strips, stalks discarded
  • 1 small can of bamboo shoots, cut into long strips
  • 1 small pack of mung bean noodles
  • 1 small block fresh tofu, cut into long strips
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 egg, whisked (optional)
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • small handful of cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Heat the stock in a large pan to simmering point and add the ginger, Napa cabbage, woodear mushrooms, Chinese mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Gently stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mung bean noodles, cook for 1 further minute, then add the tofu. Season to taste with the light soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Add the beaten egg and chili, if using.
  2. Sprinkle with some spring onion and cilantro and serve in large noodle bowls.