Morel season has arrived a bit later this year but that does not mean there are no edible mushrooms available for collecting. On a recent club walk in Hartwood acres we found quite a lot of Wood Ear mushroom Auricularia auricula-judae which is a jelly fungus in the family Auriculariaceae. In Asia a different species of Wood Ear mushroom, Auricularia polytricha, is used in cooking. You can find fresh or dried Auricularia polytricha in the Asian stores on the strip in Pittsburgh. The wood ear fungi are used in Asian dishes for their crisp, snappy texture and their color rather than their taste. You need quite a lot of them to make a decent sized dish so I supplemented this recipe with Shiitake mushrooms. Like many Chinese recipes there is quite a bit of preparation but the actual cooking is very quick. Serves 6 people as an appetizer.
- 5 oz fresh Wood ear mushrooms or a mixture of wood ear and Shiitake mushrooms. Or 1 oz dried Wood ear mushrooms from an Asian store that have been rehydrated in warm water.
- 6 oz extra firm Tofu, about 1/2 of a normal block.
- 1 box of chicken broth and 2 cups of water or 6 cups of home made chicken stock.
- 1 large egg
- 1 pork chop, about 6 oz, bone removed
- 5 oz can of slicked bamboo shoots
- 4 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar plus 1 tbs balsamic vinegar or 5 tbs Chinese black vinegar if you have it
- About 4 tbs cornstarch
- 3 medium scallions
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- Whisk 1 tbs of the soy sauce with the sesame oil and 1 tsp cornstarch together in a medium bowl
- Slice the pork chop into 1 inch by 1/4 inch match sticks and mix with the soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch mixture
- Mix 3 tbs of cornstarch with water in a bowl and set aside
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl
- Slice the tofu into 1/2 cubes
- Clean the wood ear mushrooms removing any hard pieces, rehydrate if necessary
- Remove and discard the hard stems from the Shiitake mushrooms and slice the caps into 1/4 inch slices
- Mix the vinegar, ground pepper and 3 tbs soy sauce together in a bowl
- Now that everything has been prepared bring the broth to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots and cook for 5 minutes
- Add the tofu and marinated pork, stir to separate the pork pieces and simmer for 2 minutes
- Stir the cornstarch and water one more time and add to the soup and increase heat. Stir a couple of times as the soup thickens and turns translucent, 1 minute
- Add vinegar, pepper and soy sauce mixture, stir once and turn off heat
- Using a spoon drizzle the egg into the soup in thin streams
- Let the soup sit for a minute and turn the heat back on. Once the soup has reached a gentle boil turn the heat off and serve
- Top the bowls of soup with sliced scallions