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Hot & Sour Soup

1/3 c dried tree ears
1/3 c dried lily buds
6 small or 4 large dried black mushrooms (shiitake)
2 c boiling water
6 c cold water
2 pork chops, appx 3/4 lb total
2 squares fresh firm tofu
6 TB rice wine vinegar
2 scallions
2 eggs
freshly ground black pepper

Put the tree ears, lily buds, and shiitake in a bowl and cover with
the 2c boiling water. Let soak for at least 20 minutes.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Combine 2 TB cornstarch
and 2TB water in another bowl and set aside.

Trim the meat off the chops and cut into slivers about 2 inches
long and 1/8 inch wide. Put the bones and 2TB of the shredded pork
in a pan with the 6c water and simmer for 20 minutes. Put the
remaining meat shreds in a bowl and mix with 1TB of soy sauce and
1 tsp corn starch. Set aside.

Drain the tree ears, lily buds, and mushrooms and rinse carefully.
Remove stems from mushrooms and slice caps into thin sheds. Slice
tree ears into shreds, and tear each lily bud into 3-4 pieces. Set
aside. Cut tofu into cubes about 1/3 inch on a side.

Remove bones from soup, and add tree ears, mushrooms, lily buds,
tofu, vinegar, and 2 TB soy sauce. Simmer for about 7 minutes. Chop
scallions crosswise as thin as possible and add to the soup along
with the remaining meat shreds, stirring to separate. Simmer for
2 minutes. Pour the beaten egg and cornstarch into the soup, stirring
so the eggs form shreds and not lumps. As soon as the soup returns
to the simmer and is clear and slightly thickened, remove from the
heat. Stir 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper into the soup and


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