Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shanghainese Gunxi Tang/Bean Curd Sheets Soup

Shanghainese gunxi tang.
Gunxi tang is bean curd strips soup, and it's always on the menu in authentic Shanghainese restaurants and the ingredients are usually cut finer than we do at home. We can't get thick bean curd sheets here and there's no substitute but just in case you get your hands on some of the real stuff, do make this soup. My Hub was in Shanghai two weeks ago and all he brought back was different kinds of bean curd sheets. I've frozen them in little packs so they should last until somebody else brings more over.

My Hub averages 4 to 5 bowls each time his mom or I cook it! Ok, more when his mom cooks it but it's okay, I'm cool about that. I admit to 2 bowls myself although given the choice, I prefer yindooxin, another famous Shanghainese soup made with nearly the same ingredients except for the soup base and the cured meat, salted pork and pork bones for yindooxin and chicken soup and Chinese ham for gunxi tang. 

It's late and I still go to bed past midnight even though I made a resolution to go to bed early and wake up early once I get started on my new venture. Old habits don't die hard, they just don't die!
Cut the ingredients finer than this for a better-looking soup.

Shanghainese Gunxi Tang/Bean Curd Sheets Soup (serves 4 to 6)

350 gm thick bean curd sheets
150 gm lean pork (or not so lean, up to you)
150 gm young bamboo (preferably fresh winter bamboo)
20 gm (or more, if like) dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft, stems removed
100 gm Chinese ham (blanched with boiling water)
3 liters home-made chicken stock (I used organic home-reared kampung chicken)
1. Wash the bean curd sheets and cut into fine strips. The finer the strips, the more refined the soup. Restaurants arrange the ingredients neatly in a claypot and steam the soup. Cut pork, mushrooms, bamboo and ham into fine strips too.
2. Put the chicken stock (if using whole chicken, boil for an hour, remove the chicken & use the stock) to boil in a large enough pot. Add the bamboo and mushrooms and boil at medium heat for 30 minutes.
3. Add the bean curd strips and boil gently for 15 minutes, then add the pork (stir well with chopsticks to separate) and boil 10 minutes. Add the ham, stir well and let it come to a boil for a minute. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve hot, with black vinegar if like.

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