Pork and Cucumber Soup

Zhurou Huanggua Tang

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    This delicate soup derives most of its character from the contrasting colors and textures of its main ingredients — pork, cucumbers, and black mushrooms. Its mild, subtle taste is typical of the kind of soup Mrs. Chiang’s mother would serve a special guest. Yet, like most of Mrs. Chiang’s soups, it is very easy to make.

    Method

    Preparation and Cooking

    4 cups water Put the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over a high flame.
    1 thick or 2 thin pork chops (for a yield of ⅓ pound meat, approximately) Cut the fat and bones away from the pork chop, then cut the lean meat into small cubes, about ½ inch on each side. Add the cubed meat to the boiling water. After the water has come to a second boil and is boiling furiously, reduce the heat. From this point on, the soup is to cook for 45 minutes.

    5 large dried black mushrooms

    1 cup hot water, approximately

    Put the mushrooms in a small bowl, cover them with the hot water, and let them soak for 5 minutes.
    2 cucumbers, preferably small

    Peel the cucumbers. Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seedy pulp in the middle. Chop the rest of the cucumber meat into cubes, the same size as the pork cubes. (If your cucumbers are large, you may need to use only half of the second one.)

    If there is any scum on top of the soup, remove as much of it as you can with a spoon. Then add the cubed cucumber.

    (mushrooms) Drain the mushrooms; don’t worry if they are not completely soft. Cut them into ½-inch cubes as well, and add them to the soup.
    1 scallion Clean the scallion. Then slice it, both white part and green, crosswise into pieces about ¼ inch wide.

    1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

    ½ teaspoon sesame oil

    When the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, and just before you are ready to serve it, add the chopped scallion, salt, and sesame oil. Stir the soup, then raise the heat and let it boil for a few seconds. Serve immediately.