The secret to the best hot and sour soup is to use the freshest ingredients possible. Packed with exotic flavor and spice, this simple Chinese hot and sour soup is an excellent starter to a family dinner.
1/4 lb pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/4 inch x 3 inch slices
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, julienned
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 cup Cloud Ear fungus (about 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon red chile paste, such as sambal oelek
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 square firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
1 egg, beaten
1 green onion, finely chopped
In a small bowl, marinade the pork, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch for 30 minutes.
Put the cloud ear mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain and rinse the cloud ears; discard any hard clusters in the centers.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, chili paste, cloud ears, bamboo shoots, and pork; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavor. Add the sugar, red chili paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and ground white pepper. Stir frequently for 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Mix the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup, stirring while it is being added. Let the broth come back to a boil. Let the soup boil until it becomes slightly thickened.
Add eggs to soup in a thin stream, stirring slowly in one direction with a spoon. This should take about 1 minute. Garnish with green onions before serving.