The classic Chinese dish, when done it properly, can be awesomely delicious and nutritious. The sourness and hotness, coming from vinegar and spice, stimulates our palate while good-quality stock adds the richness and depth to this very flavorful and comforting dish.
- 1000Ml (4 to 5 cups) chicken stock (or click on homemade Chinese Chicken Stock for recipe)
- ¼ cup of cornstarch and ¼ cup of water to be mixed together for water starch
- 50g ham or pork loin, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dried lily flower黄花, rehydrated and trim the both ends
- ¼ cup dried wood ears mushroom木耳, rehydrated and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms香菇, rehydrated and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup winter bamboo shoots (canned is ok), thinly sliced
- 200g or 1 small block of packaged firm tofu, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light or soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar 镇江香醋
- 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon white peppercorn powder
- 1 sprig Chinese parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Soak dried lily flower, dried wood ear mushroom and dried shiitake mushroom in warm water for 60 minutes till hydrated and soften. Drain and cut them into thin slice.
- Mix ¼ cup corn starch with an equal amount of water and use a spoon to stir until completely dissolved.
- Slice the ham into small strips. Slice the bamboo shoots and Tofu.
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a wok or pot and add the ham or sliced pork loin. Stir to ensure the slices are not clumped together. Add the lily flowers, wood ears, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and Tofu and bring it to a boil and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Now let’s season the soup. Add into dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, salt and sugar and sesame oil. Stir and mix well.
- Next step is ‘thicken the soup”. Turn to low-medium heat. This step needs a bit attention and technique. Use a spoon to remix your water starch (as indicated in step 2) in the bowl so it’s well combined. Use your soup ladle or spatula and stir the simmering soup at the center of the pot in a steady and circular motion to make a whirlpool while slowly pouring the water starch in a thin stream. This prevents the corn starch from clumping. Stop when you are about ¾ of the way done with your water starch to check the consistency of the soup. It should be thick enough to coat your spatula or ladle. Add the rest if needed.
- Keep the soup simmering and use the same technique with the beaten eggs and again, make sure the motion is fast enough so it will result in the beautiful swirls or egg “flowers” 蛋花instead of end up egg clumps.
8. Add Chinkiang vinegar and white peppercorn powder. Garnish with Chinese parsley and serve.