Hot & Sour Lima Bean Soup

ume plum vinegar


This soup’s long success stems from this Japanese condiment—ume plum vinegar. Mated with hot sauce it yields a hot-salty-sour keystone balance.

This vegan soup uses only a few ingredients and only water as stock is needed. Easy and inexpensive to make, this filling bowl has been in my regular rotation for over 25 years. For under $3.00 you can fill 12 bowls!

Bonus: add additional ingredients to build into a main course soup. See below how to turn this into 5 different versions!


Hot & Sour Lima Bean Soup
Just onion, garlic, celery, basil, lima beans, ume, and hot sauce for this complex soup


  • onion, 2 cups, chopped, or leeks
  • celery, 2 cups, slant sliced
  • vegetable oil, 2 TBS., bland
  • baby lima beans, 2 cups
  • water, 8 cups
  • garlic, 2 tsp., chopped
  • ume plum vinegar, 4 TBS.
  • hot sauce, 1 to 3 tsp., to taste
  • basil, fresh, 2 TBS.


  1. In a large pot sauté the onions in oil for a few minutes, then add the celery and continue for another few minutes.
  2. Add the water, lima beans and bring to the boil. Cook until beans are very tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 18 minutes. If using slow cooker cook for several hours. Stove top cooking figure on 45-60 minutes or more.
  3. When beans are tender, add the garlic, ume plum vinegar, and hot sauce. Cook a few more minutes and taste for seasoning.
  4. Serve with torn, fresh basil or fresh herb of choice



Mashed Potatoes: Don’t ask me why, but I mounded warmed mashed potatoes in a bowl and ladled in the soup. Wow!

Fish & Noodles: Add in cooked noodles and cooked fish chunks

Chicken & Rice: Add cooked chunk chicken and cooked rice

Sausage: Dice cooked sausage and heat with soup

Spinach & Eggs: Add a good bunch of baby spinach and when tender, stir the hot soup and drizzle beaten egg and serve as Spinach Egg-Drop Soup

Recipes using Ume Plum Vinegar:


Recipes by B. Hettig 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s