This much-loved Chinese soup has a special place in my heart. Purported to have restorative qualities, it’s just what’s needed on a cold winter’s day. Black vinegar delivers a zing of sour and white pepper counters it with subtle heat. The vinegar is imperative, so order the Chinese black variety online if you can’t find it. I’ve kept this meat free, but you can add thin pieces of pork for a more substantial soup.
Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid, and squeeze out the excess water. Discard the stems, then finely chop the caps.
In a large saucepan, heat the sesame oil over a medium–high heat. Sauté the ginger, garlic, dried and fresh mushrooms for 3 minutes or until browned at the edges. Add the stock and mushroom liquid and bring to a boil.
Julienne the bamboo shoots and freshly grind the white peppercorns. Add to the soup with the soy and vinegar.
Beat the egg in a small bowl and pour slowly into the soup.
Mix 1 tablespoon water with the cornflour to make a paste. Pour into the soup and stir until it thickens. Drain the tofu and cut into small cubes. Serve the soup in bowls with a scattering of diced tofu and spring onion.
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