This soup took America by storm and many feel it has medicinal powers!
2 tablespoons dried tree ear mushrooms
5 dried, medium Chinese mushrooms
1/4 cup dried tiger lily shreds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup raw pork, shredded
1 quart pork or chicken stock
3 scallions, cut in 1-inch lengths, plus 2 minced scallions for garnish
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
1 tablespoon pickled mustard greens, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
freshly ground white pepper to taste
8 teaspoons cornstarch
1 egg, beaten with a little cornstarch
1/2 cup firm bean curd, diced
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1. Cover the tree ears and dried Chinese mushrooms in a small bowl with boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes. Soak the tiger lily shreds in warm water, to cover, for 20 minutes. Drain, slice the mushrooms, and set aside.
2. Sauté the minced garlic in the peanut oil over moderate heat in a soup pot for 2 minutes. Add the shredded pork, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pork stock, soaked mushroom slices, soaked tiger lily shreds, scallions, bamboo shoots, pickled mustard greens, vinegar, sugar, MSG (if using), soy sauce and white pepper. Mix together the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water, making a creamy liquid. Bring soup to boil, and add cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Before serving, bring soup to boil and add the beaten egg. Reduce heat, bring soup to a simmer, and add the bean curd. Remove from heat, and add the sesame oil. Divide among 4 soup bowls and top with minced scallion.
This soup took America by storm with Szechuan restaurants—its combination of spiky vinegar, peppery heat, rich broth, and lots of exotic bits floating on top is an out-and-out winner. Ironically, however, it is not a Szechuan dish—it's one of the spicier, and more downscale representatives of the normally opulent Peking cuisine. Serves 4