Moslem-Style Hot and Sour Soup

Locale: China

Source: Barbara Tropp, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking [p. 450]

Serves: 4


  • 2 tbs tree ears
  • 28 lily buds
  • 6 medium dried black mushrooms (shiitake)
  • 6 oz well-trimmed round steak

To marinate the beef:

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp water
  • several grinds black pepper
  • 2 cakes (1/2 lb) firm fresh white tofu
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

To garnish:

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 tbs thin-sliced scallions


  1. In separate bowls, soak the tree ears, lily buds, and black mushrooms, until soft and spongy, 20 minutes to an hour (or longer). Wash and drain tree ears, discard any hard or gelatinous bits, slice. Cut hard stems off mushrooms and slice caps.

  2. Cut beef crosswise against the grain into slices 1/4 inch wide, then cut lengthwise into 1.5- to 2-inch lengths. Mix marinade until smooth and marinate for 30 minutes at room temp or overnight in refrigerator.

  3. Cut tofu into slabs 1/4 inch thick; stack and shred into slivers 1/4 inch wide. Length should be no more than 1.5 to 2-inches.

  4. About 10-15 minutes before serving, combine soy sauce with cornstarch mixture and leave spoon in bowl. Bring stock to a steaming near-simmer. Add tree ears, lily buds, mushrooms, then tofu; swish once or twice to mix, cover, and bring to a boil. Add beef, reduce heat to maintain simmer, cover and simmer 2 minutes.

  5. Remove cover, stir cornstarch mixture and add, stirring gently until thick and glossy, 15-20 seconds. Add black pepper and vinegar. Add egg in a thin stream, stirring to break up into chiffony wisps. Taste and adjust vinegar and pepper if needed. Stir in sesame oil.

  6. Serve soup in heated bowls and garnish with scallions.



  1. 2015-06-18: