Dried bamboo shoots and Chinese ham are all products of Jiangnan (southern China) and this is a simplified of a famous soup from that region, yanduoxian. It is both a stew and soup and should be cooked just long enough for the flavors to be released but not so long that the meat is rendered tasteless.
Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
2 whole chicken legs
100g Jinhua ham, cut into chunks
100g dried bamboo shoots, soaked
1 walnut-sized knob of ginger, bashed
Salt to taste
1. Wash, rinse and skin the chicken leg and chop into bite-sized pieces. Blanch the chicken and ham chunks with boiling water. Set aside.
2. Rinse the soaked bamboo shoots and snip them into smaller pieces.
3. Heat up a large pot of water, about 3 liters, and add all the ingredients at once.
4. As the pot comes to a boil, froth and scum will float. Skim off the froth patiently and then turn the heat down to low.
5. Allow the soup to simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour.
6. Season to taste, but remember that the ham is salty, so go easy with the salt.