Hot and Sour Soup


Source: Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee's Chinese Cookbook

Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
Total Cooking Time: about 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:
2 large dried black mushrooms
6 tree ear mushrooms
4 dried tiger lily stems
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely shredded pork
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 cup finely shredded bamboo shoots
5 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 lb. tofu, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper (or less to make soup less spicy)
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Place the mushrooms, tree ears and tiger lily stems in a mixing bowl. Pour very hot or boiling water over them and let stand 15 to 20 minutes, then drain.

Cut off and discard the stems of the mushrooms and the harder part of the tree ears. Cut mushrooms and tree ears into thin slices. With the fingers, shred the tiger lily stems, and if they are very long, cut them in half.

Heat a wok or large pot and when it is hot, add the vegetable oil and shredded pork. Stir to separate the strands of pork and add the light soy sauce. Add the mushrooms, tree ears, tiger lily stems and bamboo shoots. Stir quickly about 1 minute and add the chicken broth. Stir in vinegar and dark soy sauce.

Combine the cornstarch and water and stir into the simmering broth. When slightly thickened, add the bean curd, bring to a boil and turn off the heat for about 30 seconds, to let the broth cool a bit so the eggs won't overcook when they are added.

Add the sesame oil and pepper and stir to blend. Pour the soup into a hot soup tureen and gradually add the eggs in a thin stream, stirring in a circular motion. Sprinkle with the chopped scallion and serve.