Hot n Sour Soup
This recipe is by Jim Huebner:
My favorite Chinese dish. This is a slightly simplified version in that I only use Shiitakes instead of a mixture of Shiitakes and Tree Ears. I also omit the traditional bamboo shoots and Tiger Lily stems for simplicity – and I don’t think the taste suffers a bit since it is based primarily on pepper and vinegar! This is a filling dish with a lot of flavor.
Place 5-10 dried Shiitakes (aka black mushrooms) in very hot or boiling water and set aside for a ½ hour or more.
Take the mushrooms from the liquid, remove the stems if you have not already done so and slice into bite-sized pieces; reserve the soaking liquid.
Slice ¼ pound or more of boneless pork (or chicken or omit for a vegetarian soup) into matchstick size pieces (easier if partially frozen); stir-fry in a tablespoon of cooking oil in a deep pot large enough for the finished soup until browned; add a tablespoon of tamari.
Add the sliced mushrooms and stir-fry until starting to brown; add another tablespoon of tamari. Then add 4 cups chicken (or vegetable or mushroom) stock and/or the mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a simmer.
Salt and/or add additional tamari to taste, add 2 tablespoons of Fire Cider or more to taste, then blend in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in water.
When the broth has thickened, add a half package of firm tofu cut into ¼” x ¼” strips. Add 2 tablespoons sesame oil and a teaspoon of white pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Turn off the heat and slowly add 2 well-beaten eggs into the broth while stirring so that shreds, rather than clumps of egg form. Cover and let sit for a few minutes.
Serve with chopped chives or scallions and a sprinkling of ground coriander seeds.
Yield: The above is generous for two as a main course and should easily serve four. The recipe can be doubled or expanded.
Variations: if you want to use tree ears and Tiger Lily stems, soak them along with the Shiitakes and slice/shred them before browning, use fewer Shiitakes. If using bamboo shoots, brown them along with the mushrooms.