Hot and Sour Soup
John really liked this. I never have wood ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots on hand and I’m allergic to soy, so I Americanized it, with tasty results.
½ c mushrooms, slices
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 -inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chile paste, such as sambal oelek
1/2 cup carrots, sliced (I had red pepper and shaved asparagus, so I threw them in also)
1/4 pound barbecued pork, shredded (or chicken/seafood/sausage)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 quarts chicken stock
1 pk rice noodles or 1 small, shaved turnip cut into strips
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Optional: Chopped green onions and cilantro leaves, for garnish.
Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high flame. Add the ginger, chili paste, veggies, and pork; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavor. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, pour it into the wok and toss everything together - it should smell really fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rice noodles and cook for 3 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix the slurry into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked almost immediately.) You can also pour the beaten egg over a waving spoon into the hot broth, which seems to make thinner ribbons.
Optional: Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.