It’s been more than a year and I have not posted anything, seeing your comments made me think that maybe I should start again, so here I am! Over the years, I was on the hunt for a good hot and sour soup in New York and after many failed attempts with different restaurants/take-aways eventually gave up, then I finally tried this soup from my favorite Chinese cookbook about a year or more ago and struck gold! I always thought it would be so complex to make! But the only thing complex about it is collecting the ingredients. For this soup I really suggest picking up the bags of dried Chinese mushroom, and dried black fungus (don’t not add this, it gives it an amazing texture, its just another type of mushroom) next time you are in china town or your Chinese grocery store get some. Just put them in a zip lock bag and store in a cupboard and they will last for ever, then when ever the mood strikes you can make your hot and sour soup or put them in other stuff! I also like getting bamboo shoots and tofu when there, the bamboo shoots are also amazing when used in a Thai curry, so get your self some cans and keep them for later. The other important thing is to get the black rice vinegar from the Chinese store when you are getting your light soy sauce and things. The black rice vinegar has a very distinct flavor and I feel it is important in this dish. It will keep for ever and you will be so happy you have it in the cupboard once you have made this once! For making this vegetarian, I would add additional tofu in place of the mince pork or chicken.
6-8 dried Chinese mushrooms
2-3 tablespoons dried black fungus (wood ears)
150 g lean pork (shredded or minced)
1 tablespoon cornflour
120g firm tofu, drained (I even use soft tofu or silken tofu, whatever is there)
1/4 cup tinned bamboo shoots (rinsed and drained)
1 litre chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shoaxing rice wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons Chinese black rice vinegar
2 eggs (beaten)
1-2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 chopped spring onion
Soak the dried mushrooms and black fungus in boiling water for 20-30 minutes, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. You can remove and discard stems, and shred the caps, but I just shred the whole thing, also shred the black fungus.
Combine the pork, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of the cornflour. Thinly shred the tofu and bamboo shoots to the same size as the pork.
Bring the stock to the boil in a large clay pot or saucepan. Add the pork and stir to separate the meat, then add the mushrooms, fungus, tofu and bamboo. Return to the boil and add the salt, rice wine, soy and vinegar. Slowly pour in the egg in an even stream, whisking to form thin threads, cook for one minute. Combine the remaining cornflour with enough water to make a liquid without lumps and add to the soup. (if you like it thicker add a little more cornflour and water mixture later). Add white pepper and stir. Serve in bowls and garnish with spring onion. Enjoy!