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Mandarin Hot and Sour Soup

8 cups chicken stock
1/4 lb lean pork, shredded
2 dried black mushrooms, soaked and shredded
2-3 slices of fresh ginger
2-3 dried Mo-er fungus (cloud ears, tree ears), soaked and shredded
1/4 lb (optional) bean curd (tofu), cut into 2"x1/4"x1/4" pieces
2 Tablespoons mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup vinegar (rice wine vinegar is very good)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil (the dark brown, roasted type--not clear)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 green onions, shredded
4 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 3 tablespoons water

Bring soup stock to a boil in a large pot and add shredded pork,
black mushrooms, ginger, and Mo-er fungus. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Discard ginger.

Add remaining ingredients, except eggs, green onions, and cornstarch
solution. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Add cornstarch solution
and cook until soup is thickened and clear.

Remove from heat and slowly stir in beaten eggs. Garnish with
shredded green onion. Serve immediately. Serves eight.

Remarks: This is delicious and thick. You can add 1 slice of cooked
ham, shredded, and up to 3/4 tsp salt (according to taste). The
pork can be omitted for an excellent meatless soup. Leftover soup
stores well for a few days in the refrigerator.


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