Don’t let the long list of ingredients discourage you from trying out this delicious hot, sweet and sour soup, to which I’ve added fresh scallops as an elegant treat. As with most Chinese cooking, you will need to spend a little more time preparing the ingredients, but the actual cooking time is quite short.
1 litre fish or chicken stock
3 tblsp rice vinegar
3 tblsp light soy sauce
1 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
5 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
300g pack firm tofu, cut into small cubes
4 scallops, halved diagonally
225g tin bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
2 tblsp cornflour, dissolved in 3 tbsp water
1 large free range egg, beaten
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
Place the stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrot, ginger and garlic, and adjust the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms and carrots are just tender.
Add the tofu, scallops and bamboo shoots. Stir in the cornflour mixture. Simmer until the soup is lightly thickened and the scallops are just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour the beaten egg into the soup, gently stirring in a circular motion to create small ribbons of egg.
Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the spring onions and serve at once.