This is a hearty, chunky Taiwanese version of the soup that can be found in Chinese restaurants worldwide.
Ingredients 4 dried shiitake (black) mushrooms I dried wood ear 120 grams lean pork, julienned 2 teaspoons cornstarch 300 grams regular tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes 150 grams congealed pig's blood, cut into 1 cm cubes 7 cups chicken stock 3 large slices of ginger 1/2 cup carrots, julienned *1/2 cup bamboo shoots, julienned 1/2 cup white rice vinegar 3 tablespoons soy sauce 11/2 teaspoons chilli sauce 31/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in a small amount of water 1 egg white 4 spring onions, finely chopped
1.Soak mushrooms and wood ear in water until soft (about 20 minutes).
2.Cut up tofu, pig's blood, carrot, and bamboo shoots.
3.Slice pork into very thin strips. Put in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Mix well and let stand.
4.Trim mushrooms and wood ear stems and slice thinly.
5.Place stock in a large pot and bring to boil. Add mushrooms, wood ear and ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove ginger.
6.Add pork, tofu, pig's blood, carrots, and bamboo shoots. Cook for 2 minutes, before adding vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli sauce. Cook for further 5 minutes.
7.Mix in cornstarch to thicken soup. Turn off heat. Add egg white and stir gently.
8.Garnish with spring onions.
Notes: *If using fresh bamboo: place bamboo in a pot with plenty of water, bring to boil, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Taste bamboo; if bitter, replace water and boil for a further 10 minutes. This dish involves quite a bit of preparation, but is cooked in under 20 minutes. Unlike many hot and sour soups, this one does not use pepper, instead relying on a fine balance of vinegar and a chilli to achieve the hot and sour effect. Although in Taiwan the soup will always include the pig's blood, you might not fancy it, even if you can get your hands on it – so leave it out. Leftovers taste fine after a few days in the fridge, but do not freeze.