This dish, also known as “Pingqiao tofu”, was served to the famous Qing emperor Qianlong during his royal visit to the town of Pingqiao in the eighteenth century. The silkiness of the tofu infused with the richly flavoured stock impressed the emperor so much that he named the dish “China’s best food”.
- 500 g pork bones
- 500 g large beef bones
- 1 chicken carcass
- 200 g silken tofu, cut into ½ cm cubes
- 50 g Chinese ham, finely chopped
- 30 g (about 3) fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 80 g (1 small) carrot, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ –½ tsp ground white pepper
- 20 g (1 ½ tbsp) potato starch
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cook time 24 hours
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Place pork bones, beef bones and chicken carcass in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, strain and briefly rinse the bones in cold water. Return the bones to the pot and cover with 5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to the lowest possible simmer. Cook for 24 hours skimming regularly for the first few hours. Strain the stock and discard the bones.
Bring the strained stock to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Add the tofu, mushrooms, carrots, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine the potato starch with 1 tablespoon water and stir into the soup. Continue to stir and add the egg white. Remove from the heat and drizzle in the sesame oil. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with coriander.
Photography by Alan Benson