Recipe: Chinese Hot and Sour Quail Soup

29bb8716-4c80-4df1-9c0e-4465eb7110dd This soup will make you sweat a little and pucker up at the same time – the perfect combination for preparing some quail in a new and exciting way.

By Jamie Carlson

Serves 2
 

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces finely cut quail meat
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
4 small Chinese dried black mushrooms
12 small dried tree ear mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 dried lily buds (available in most Asian food stores)
1/2 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots (cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips (from an 8-oz can)
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups chicken stock
3 to 4 oz firm tofu (about a quarter of a block), rinsed and drained, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens
2 tablespoons fresh whole cilantro leaves
 

METHOD

Toss quail with dark soy sauce in a bowl until meat is well coated.

Soak black and tree ear mushrooms in 3 cups boiling-hot water in another bowl. When the mushrooms are rehydrated slice them thinly into ¼ inch strips.
 
Stir together 1/4 cup mushroom-soaking liquid with cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, soak lily buds in about 1 cup warm water until softened, about 20 minutes, then drain, then tear each half lengthwise into 2 or 3 shreds.

Cover bamboo shoots with cold water by 2 inches in a small saucepan, then bring just to a boil (to remove bitterness) and drain in a sieve.

Stir together vinegars, light soy sauce, sugar, and salt in another small bowl.

Heat a large sauce pan and then Pour canola oil in and swirl oil, tilting pan to coat sides. Add quail and stir-fry until meat just changes color, about 1 minute, then add black mushrooms, tree ears, lily buds, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry 1 minute.

Add broth and bring to a boil, then add tofu. Return to a boil and add vinegar mixture. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to broth and return to a boil, stirring. (Liquid will thicken.) Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes then serve with garnish of cilantro and green onions. 

Beat eggs with a fork and add a few drops of sesame oil. Add eggs to soup in a thin stream, stirring slowly in one direction with a spoon. Stir in white pepper, then drizzle in remaining sesame oil and divide among 6 to 8 bowls. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro before serving.