Elaine Walker, Soup

Hot & Sour Soup

40 dried lily buds (about 1/2 ounce)*
1 tablespoon dried wood ear mushrooms
1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
5 cups chicken stock, low-sodium (do not substitute vegetable or mushroom broth)
1/2 cup drained canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and julienned
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar*
1 teaspoon white pepper powder

*Note: these items are very hard to find. Do not use substitutes. Best to order ahead of time online.

Step 1
Place lily buds and mushrooms in a small bowl, and add very hot water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Trim and discard tough ends from buds, and cut in half crosswise. Thinly slice mushrooms.

Step 2
Stir together lily buds, mushrooms, chicken stock, bamboo shoots, and ginger in a large saucepan over high. When the soup starts to simmer, add Napa cabbage and turn to medium-low heat. Cook until the Napa cabbage turns tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Step 3
Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Whisk cornstarch mixture into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream; cook 1 minute. Pour beaten egg into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream, stirring gently.

Step 4
Stir in tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and cook another 2 minutes.

Step 5
In small bowl, add the vinegar and pepper. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Stir into soup mixture and serve immediately.