The cornstarch slurry often used to thicken this kind of soup is omitted here to keep the soup light for warmer weather.
The Chinese black vinegar gives the soup a deep, mellow tang that you can't get with white vinegar or red vinegar. It is available at Asian markets, but if you can't find it, use balsamic vinegar instead.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 1/3 pound uncooked pork, cut into thin slices then shredded (using 2 forks)
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 to 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Pinch sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 cups good-quality low-sodium chicken or beef broth
- 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin slices (may substitute 4 dried Chinese black mushrooms; see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup canned or fresh bamboo shoots, cut into very thin strips (julienne)
- 10 ounces firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons 1 to 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, cut into shreds
Combine the pork, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, the rice wine, toasted sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Mix well to coat each shred of pork. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Bring the chicken or beef broth to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the pork and stir to separate all the pieces (the marinade will stick to the pork, so there shouldn't be much marinade to discard). Let the liquid return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots and tofu. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the pork is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened.
Season the soup with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the black vinegar; and the teaspoon of the white pepper. Stir, taste and add black vinegar and/or white pepper as needed.
Divide among individual bowls; garnish each portion with sliced scallion.
NOTE: To use dried Chinese black mushrooms, soak them in very hot water for 30 minutes until completely softened. Drain, trim and discard the tough stems. Cut each mushroom cap into very thin slices.
From cookbook author Jaden Hair.
Tested by Mary Pat.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.