Here's a quick and easy recipe I came up with to make use of the leftover plum roasted chicken I made over the weekend. I shredded the meat and added it to chicken stock I had stored in the freezer. A few additional ingredients, including enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cubed silken tofu, lily buds, kaffir lime leaves, young bamboo shoots, plum sauce and lightly beaten eggs and you have a lovely bowl of sweet and sour soup. The sweetness from the plum sauce provides a nice contrast of flavor with the freshness from the kaffir lime leaves.
Since the chicken and chicken stock were ready to go, it took me almost no time to prepare the soup. So basically, an investment of one afternoon spent preparing chicken is already paying dividends!
Servings: 8 servings
2 quarts chicken stock
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn into thirds
1½ teaspoons salt, to taste
3 tablespoons corn starch
¼ cup plum sauce, to taste
1 cup shredded chicken
½ cup soy sauce, to taste
1 package enoki mushrooms, separated
1 (18-ounce) package silken soft tofu
¼ cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1½ cups bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
4 dried lily buds
1 king oyster mushroom (see tips), shredded
juice of 2 limes, freshly squeezed
1½ teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon green onions, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Prepping the tofu: Drain the liquid from the package of the tofu. Slice the tofu in two horizontally. Gently cut the tofu into 1-inch square cubes. Silken tofu is very delicate and easily breakable, so be very cautious and gentle. Set aside.
Preparing the lily buds: Soak the lily buds in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain and shred them.
Prepping the sweet and sour broth:
In a 5-quart stockpot, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Discard the solids. Pour the broth back into the pot.
Check the sourness of the broth. Add the lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add lily buds, soy sauce and salt. Taste again. Finish with plum sauce. The secret is to balance the sweetness and the saltiness. Be sure not to over-salt!
In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch into ¾ cup of water.
Bring the soup to a full boil. Adjust seasoning. Mix the corn starch liquid one more time and add it to the boiling broth to prevent the starch from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continuously stir the broth as it will thicken very quickly. Add the shredded chicken, the King oyster mushroom, enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Add the tofu, bamboo and green onions. Check the texture of the sauce; it should be thick and syrupy. If you find the sauce to be too thick, add more water. Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir gently so the tofu doesn't fall apart. Bring to a full boil one last time and pour in the beaten eggs, stirring continuously. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Finish with black pepper.
Silken tofu can be found in grocery stores now but I prefer those from the Korean or Japanese stores. I find teir texture to be creamier. Make sure you check for silken soft tofu and not firm on the package.
We're very lucky to be able to get kaffir lime leaves from our garden. They're very useful and smell so nice. If you have the space to plant a kaffir lime tree, go for it; it's a good investment if you like Asian cooking.
You can find dried lily buds in any Asian specialty market.