- 1 pound shark's fin, about 8 pieces (*SUBSTITUTE chicken since shark's fin is illegal)
- 16 cups water
- 6 large dried black Chinese mushrooms
- 6 canned bamboo shoots, drained
- 1/2 chicken breast, cooked
- 3 tablespoons Shaoxing or dry Sherry wine
- 4 thin slices fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons corn, peanut or vegetable oil
- 9 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Salt to taste, if desired
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, preferably white
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Put the shark's fin in a kettle, and add 8 cups of the water, barely covering. Bring to a boil and cook, turning the pieces often as they cook, about 30 minutes. Drain and chill under cold running water. Drain.
2. Put the shark's fin in a mixing bowl, and add cold water to cover. Let stand 24 hours.
3. Meanwhile, put the mushrooms into a mixing bowl, and add warm water to cover. Let stand 30 minutes or longer. Drain and squeeze dry. Cut the mushrooms into fine shreds and set aside. There should be about 2/3 cup.
4. Thinly slice the bamboo shoots, and stack the slices. Cut the slices into the thinnest possible shreds. There should be about 1/2 cup.
5. Using the fingers, pull the chicken breast meat into the finest possible shreds. There should be about 2/3 cups.
6. Drain the shark's fin, and using the fingers, remove the fine, silky fibers. This will yield about 1 cup.
7. Put the cleaned shark's fin into a kettle, and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and drain.
8. Put the shark's fin into a wok or kettle, and add 4 more cups of water, the wine and ginger. Bring to a boil, and let simmer 1 minute. Drain and discard the ginger.
9. Heat the corn oil in a wok or skillet, and add the bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, about 10 seconds. Add the chicken broth and shark's fin. Bring to a boil. Skim off the white foam that rises to the surface. Add salt to taste. Add the shredded chicken.
10. Blend the cornstarch and cold water. Stir this into the soup. Add the soy sauce, black pepper and sesame oil and serve.