Chinese Vegetarian Soup Recipes and Porridge

> Vegetarian Soups

An article about Chinese vegetarian soup recipes with 3 recipes for vegetarian rice porridge.

Traditional Chinese vegetarian dishes used a lot of mock meats which are often made of highly processed wheat. There are mock pork, mock duck, mock prawns, mock calamari, and etc. You name it and they will try to "mock" it.

Mock meats are basically made with either soy, wheat gluten or mushrooms. Many are highly processed and heavily flavoured with artificial additives.

I still remember drinking a Chinese vegetarian soup made up of mock prawns, calamari, fish and salted vegetables. I had severe indigestion after that and vowed never to touch mock seafood again. But mock foodstuffs are quite popular. Perhaps fans have very good digestive systems.

Many people turn vegetarian because of personal conviction. That killing animals for food is cruel. Eating mock meats make sense to them. However, those who become vegetarian for health reasons should avoid mock meats. Go 100% meat-free using fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and fungus.

I have made some flavor-packed vegetarian soups with only vegetables, legumes and fungus.

snow pea shoots and tofu soup

Snow pea shoots and tofu soup.

Vegetarian Stocks

One of the difficulties of finding truly vegetarian Chinese soups in restaurants is the soup stock used to prepare the soup. The ingredients in the soup could be all vegetables but the stock could have been made with chicken, pork or seafood. What we need is 

Carrot, onion and celery are the 3 most common vegetables used to make stocks. Sometimes browning, frying or roasting the ingredients first before boiling them can intensify their flavour. Chinese mushrooms are usually indispensable too. 

Try these 2 soup stocks made only with vegetables

Eggs and Tofu

A common issue with a vegetarian diet is the lack of proteins. This can be quite easily solved by the addition of eggs and tofu.

If you are not a vegan, vegetarian egg drop soups are perfect for you, especially combined with fresh vegetables like sweet corn or tomato. Try this chinese sweet corn soup. This is a clear soup with fresh corn kernels. The recipe calls for chicken stock but if you replace it with a vegetable stock, it becomes vegetarian. I am tempted to add some chopped onions too. If you prefer the creamy version, you can use a stick blender to puree the corn. 

Or these fresh tomato egg drop soups. Again, clear soups with beautiful strands of egg floating around. Red and yellow, such attractive colours.

Finally, a variety of tofu products can be used in vegetarian soups. Soft and firm tofu add bulk while tofu puffs add texture.

I love this tomato and silken tofu soup because it is so simple to make. I sometimes garnish it with chopped spring onion but it isn't necessary.

Hearty Vegetables

Root vegetables are popular with vegetarians. I like adding carrot, lotus root, arrowroot, taro and more into soups. If you have gastric problems, these are really good comforting food.

The Chinese also uses a wide variety of mushrooms to make vegetarian soups. Dried chinese mushrooms have this intense flavour. Soak with water to rehydrate them. Strain the soaking water and add to the soup. Fresh mushrooms are also popular. Use a variety of mushrooms such as enoki, chinese, oyster, abalone, button, moss and more in a single dish. Yummilicious!

Vegetarian Rice Porridge

Make some healthy vegetarian porridge by adding different types of vegetables, fresh mushrooms and non-meat ingredients into plain rice congee.

Chinese dried mushrooms, wood and cloud ear fungus, taro, sweet potato, and carrot are quite common ingredients added to plain rice congee to bulk it up and increase the nutritional value.

Spice Brasserie - Teochew Porridge

A pot of rice porridge with pieces of sweet potato. A classic Hokkien fare. 

I personally like sweet potato chunks in my congee. One day I will sit down and write up the recipe but it is very simple actually. Just steam the sweet potato, peel, cut into chunks and add to rice congee. Yummm.

I have 3 vegetarian rice porridge recipes here. 

Recipe 1: Mushroom and sweet corn porridge

This mushroom and sweet corn porridge is not made with corn grit.

It is a Chinese vegetarian rice congee using medium-grained white rice, dried Chinese mushrooms, sweet corn kernels and carrot.

Sweet corn is rich in vitamin A and E which is good for the eyes and prevent bleeding gums. Vitamin E can also lower blood cholesterol, prevent blood clotting, high blood pressure and the hardening of the arteries.


  • 120g sweet corn
  • 80g dried mushroom
  • 80g carrot
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salad oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Wash and dice the carrot
  2. Wash the sweet corn and drain
  3. Wash and soak the mushrooms until soft and drain
  4. Do not throw the soaking water. Strain it and add to the water used to cook the porridge. It will enhance the flavour of the porridge.
  5. Slice the mushrooms thinly
  6. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes
  7. Place the rice in a pot and add the water
  8. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer
  9. When the porridge is done, add the carrot, mushrooms and sweet corn and cook till soft
  10. Add the salt and salad oil before serving

Recipe 2: Black white fungus rice porridge


  • 40g dried mushroom
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Cooking oil
  • 40g carrot
  • 40g bamboo shoot
  • 40g cloud ear fungus or white fungus, soaked and re-hydrated
  • 40g wood ear fungus or black fungus, soaked and re-hydrated
  • 40g straw mushroom
  • 6 cups soup stock
  • 3 cups of white rice


  • Pinch of salt
  • Pepper
  • Sesame seed oil


  1. Soak the dried mushroom with cold water
  2. Marinate the mushroom with some salad oil
  3. Clean and dice the carrot
  4. Clean and dice the bamboo shoot
  5. Parboil the bamboo shoot
  6. Wash and parboil the cloud ear fungus, wood ear fungus and straw mushroom
  7. Bring the soup stock to a boil, add the white rice and cook for 15 minutes
  8. Add the mushrooms, carrot, bamboo shoot and fungus to the porridge
  9. Add the seasonings

Recipe 3: Taro porridge

Taro is a very nutritious tuber vegetable. It contains a number of micro-nutrients that are beneficial to the elderly. It is also easy on the digestive tract, helps to alleviate constipation and promote nutrient absorption.

Be careful when peeling taro, the sticky substance just under the skin can sting the hands. Wear a pair of kitchen gloves when preparing taro.


  • 1 cup of rice
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 200g taro
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes
  2. Place the rice in a pot and add the water
  3. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer
  4. When the porridge is done, leave it aside
  5. Wash and chop the celery finely
  6. Wash, peel and dice the yam
  7. Heat the cooking oil in a wok and fry the yam
  8. Fry for about 5 minutes, add the soy sauce
  9. Fry and mix them well
  10. Add the rice porridge and cook till the yam is soft
  11. Add the salt and pepper
  12. Sprinkle the chopped celery before serving

Now that you know more about Chinese vegetarian soup, stock and rice congee, add them to your repertoire and I'm sure your vegetarian diet would be so much easier to maintain.

Happy Souping, Phoebe