Thai Hot and Sour Soup
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups fresh shiitake mushroom caps sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup finely julienned fresh ginger
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 stemmed Thai bird chiles
3 lemongrass stalks, white parts only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned broth
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 star anise
1 cup enoki mushrooms
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup Thai or sweet basil leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 pound rock shrimp or regular shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
5 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1/8 inch thick and reserved separately
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely diced jicama
Canola oil, for deep-frying
6 slices of sandwich-style bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the shiitake mushrooms and saute, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Season with the salt to taste, remove, and set aside.
Return the same skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the pan.
When the oil shimmers, add the ginger, onion, chiles, and lemongrass and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the fish sauce, then add the chicken stock, lime leaves, and star anise.
Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by one-fourth, about 20 minutes.
Strain, return to the skillet, and add the reserved shiitakes, the enoki mushrooms, vinegar, basil, and white pepper.
Taste and correct the seasonings.
To make the toast, combine the shrimp, cabbage, ginger, sesame oil, and egg in a food processor. Process to a puree and season with the salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a chilled bowl and fold in the white scallion slices, the cilantro, and jicama.
Fill a fryer or heavy, medium stockpot one-third full with the oil and heat to 375 degrees F. over high heat.
Spread the shrimp mixture on the bread slices, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and fry shrimp side down until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Flip and fry the second side until brown, about 2 minutes, remove with a large-mesh spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Halve each slice diagonally.
Ladle the soup into 6 soup plates.
Garnish with 2 toasts per serving, sprinkle with the scallion greens, and serve.