A favorite Sichuan-style opener becomes a main course with the addition of crabmeat. Dried tiger-lily buds (also called Golden Needles), cloud ears and Sichuan peppercorns can be found in Aisan markets or ordered from orientalpantry.com or amazon.com. Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 1993

EatingWell Test Kitchen


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Thinly slice 2 scallions; set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining scallions into 3-inch lengths and put in a large saucepan, along with broth, ginger and crushed peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, discarding spices.

  • Meanwhile, put tiger-lily buds and cloud ears in separate small bowls; cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 to 25 minutes, or until softened. Drain. Cut tough ends off the tiger-lily buds and chop cloud ears coarsely. Set aside.

  • Heat oil in a wok or heavy stockpot over high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add bamboo shoots, the reserved cloud ears and tiger-lily buds; stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Add the strained broth and tofu; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

  • Dissolve cornstarch in water in a small bowl; add to the soup and cook for 1 minute, stirring, to thicken. Add crabmeat, vinegar, ground pepper and sesame oil; heat through.

  • Remove the soup from the heat and while stirring, slowly pour in beaten egg. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional Sichuan or white pepper and vinegar, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with reserved scallions and serve extra vinegar on the side.


Dried tiger-lily buds, cloud ears and Sichuan peppercorns can be found in Chinese markets or ordered from: The Oriental Pantry, 423 Great Road, Acton, Massachusetts 01720, (800) 828-0368.

Nutrition Facts

114 calories; total fat 3.5g 5% DV; saturated fat 0.7g; cholesterol 38mg 13% DV; sodium 827mg 33% DV; potassium 308mg 9% DV; carbohydrates 11.1g 4% DV; fiber 1.7g 7% DV; sugar 4g; protein 11.5g 23% DV; exchange other carbs 1; vitamin a iu 150IU; vitamin c 3mg; folate 25mcg; calcium 86mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 19mg; thiaminmg.

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Rating: 5 stars
A rather labor-intensive recipe but worth the effort for a special occasion-- provided you can obtain some of the esoteric ingredients. Expect to take close to an hour in prep time. Read More