Recipe video above. A firm Chinese starter favourite! A glossy soup broth that's savoury, sour and as spicy as you want it to be, filled with mushrooms, tofu and bamboo shoots. Skip the chicken to make it meat free, or add shrimp/prawns or fish pieces. Serves 6 - 8 as a starter, or 4 as a light meal.
1tspdried chilli / red pepper flakes, adjust spice to taste (Note 2)
2tspdark soy sauce(Note 3)
1tbsplight soy sauce(Note 3)
1tspginger, finely grated
1/2tspwhite pepper(sub black)
6 cups (1.5L/1.5qt) chicken or veg stock/broth, low sodium
1/4 cup (65 ml)white vinegar(adjust to taste)
125 g / 4oz firm tofu (~ 1 cup), cut into 1.2cm / 0.5" cubes (Note 4)
1/4cupbamboo shoots, thinly sliced (Note 5)
1/4 cup (40g)cornstarch/cornflour
1/4 cup (125 ml) water
Salt to taste
1shallot/scallion, finely sliced
Cover shiitake mushrooms with plenty of boiling water. Stand 20 - 30 minutes until soft, drain, then slice thinly. (Discard or reserve liquid for other use)
Place chicken broth, ginger, soy sauces, chilli, sugar, pepper and sesame oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
Once simmering, add chicken, cover and reduce heat so it's simmering.
Cook 10 minutes, remove chicken and shred.
Add vinegar, shiitake, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu and shredded chicken into the soup.
Stir, simmer for 10 minutes.
Mix cornflour with water. While stirring soup at a medium pace, slowly pour the cornflour mixture in (ensures no lumps).
When it starts simmering again, stir constantly and slowly pour egg in a thin stream - this will create the signature "egg ribbons".
Taste - add salt if desired, more chilli if you want.
Add shallots and serve!
1. Mushrooms - for the most authentic flavour, use dried shiitake mushrooms. The flavour is more intense than fresh, and the texture is better. If you discover it's still firm in the middle when slicing, put in broth first to finish rehydrating. Best sub is sis brown/cremini mushrooms, or other Asian mushrooms.Wood ear mushrooms are also an essential ingredient for a true Chinese restaurant experience (see post for more info). Sold at some grocery stores (Harris Farms) and Asian groceries. If dried, soak with shiitake for 30 min. Can be skipped - use more shiitake.2. Chilli - authentic versions use finely chopped dried Asian chillies. Deseed to make them less spicy. Red pepper / chilli flakes is a fine to use too - really can't taste the difference.3. Soy sauce - can sub dark soy with more light soy, or both for all purpose soy sauce. Do not use just dark soy sauce, broth flavour too strong.4. Tofu - must be firm so it doesn't disintegrate when soup is stirred. Just feel the packet - the firmer the better (but not rock hard!). If you can only find soft tofu, stir it in gently right at the end.5. Bamboo shoots - sold sliced in tins sold at large supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. Need approx 1/3 of a 230g/7oz can. Use leftovers in stir fries, terrific texture!6. Storage / reheating - It keeps 100% perfectly in the fridge, I've been known to keep it up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove. Freezing will affect the thickness because cornflour/cornstarch doesn't work as well once frozen. Easy fix - just thaw, reheat and add more cornflour/water mixture until it's the thickness you want (follow same recipe steps to slowly add while stirring).