This soup is a speciality of the province of Szechuan in western China and has a most unusual but very attractive taste. Sesame oil can be obtained from health food or Chinese provision stores.
2 Tbs Sesame oil
2 Medium onions, finely chopped
2 Tbs Flour
1 1/4 itre (2 pints) 5 cups Chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs Soy sauce
1/4 tsp Monosodium glutamate (MSG), (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
275 g (10 oz) Bean sprouts
2 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, drained and chopped
125 g (4 oz) Canned bamboo shoot, drained and finely chopped
125 g (4 oz) Cooked chicken, finely diced
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and fry until they are soft.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste.
3. Gradually stir in the remaining ingredients until they are well blended and the mixture is smooth.
4. Return the pan to moderate heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
5. Transfer the soup to a warmed tureen and serve at once.