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Crispy Eel

40 g (1-1/2 oz) large dried Chinese black mushrooms
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups oil for frying

Group 1: 1 cup water, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
juice (press the grated root in garlic press), 1/2 teaspoon rice
vinegar, pinch Chinese five-spice powder

Group 2: 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dash toasted
sesame oil

Soak the mushrooms til soft and remove stems. Cut 2/3" wide strips
from around the mushroom edges. Squeeze out excess moisture, dredge
in cornstarch, and set aside. (The book uses all mushroom scraps
in other recipes, so save).

Heat the oil to about 300 degrees and fry the strips til crisp;
drain.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil, add group 1, and bring
to a boil. Thicken with group 2. Add the fried strips to the sauce
and serve.

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