Rehydrate the dried ingredients (15 minutes: in lukewarm water for the shiitakes, and in boiling water for the lily buds and tree ears). Heat the chicken broth (if it's canned, prepare it).
Mince the garlic and ginger root and combine them. Shred the pork loin. Shred the bamboo shoots. Combine the cornstarch and the water. Chop the green onions. Lightly beat the eggs.
Heat oil in wok (medium), add the garlic and ginger, stirring 30 seconds.
Add the pork, cooking until it loses its pink color.
Add the soy sauce, cook for 1 minute more.
Add bamboo shoots, shiitakes, lily buds, tree ear fungi, stir quickly for 1 minute.
Stir in chicken broth, sherry, and vinegar.
Stir cornstarch/water mix one last time and add it to the soup.
Add the tofu and bring the soup to a boil.
. Turn the heat to low, add the green onions.
. Add the beaten eggs in a slow stream, stirring several times.
. Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil, chili oil, white pepper. Season to taste and serve immediately.
I have seldom been to a Chinese restaurant without having hot and sour soup, and it was pleasant to discover how easy it is to make it at home. We have fixed this by itself as a dinner for two with enough left over for lunch. Particularly when we add extra meat and vegetables, we find it a very hearty soup which is surprisingly easy to make.
Like many Chinese recipes, it takes longer to prepare the ingredients than it does to cook the soup. As I understand it, hot and sour soup, traditionally, is a Northern Chinese way of using leftovers. Therefore, there are many, many variations possible, particularly in the dried ingredients. We never make it exactly the same way twice. I recommend using the shiitakes at least; most any grocery store has them. You may find tree ears and lily buds in an oriental food store.
Difficulty : easy to moderate Precision : no need to measur