---------- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
  Categories: Soups, Chinese
       Yield: 6 servings
       6 c  Chicken broth
       2 tb Shredded Smithfield ham
       4 sm Cakes Chinese bean curd
            -cubed, rinsed in cold water
       6 lg Chinese black mushrooms
            - soaked, squeezed dry
            - and shredded
       4 c  Peanut oil for deep-frying
 ------------------------RICE CRUST------------------------
            Oil, peanut
            Chopped scallions
            Sesame oil
   BRING THE BROTH TO A SIMMER in a pot and add the ham,
   bean curd and mushrooms. Let it simmer 5 minutes. Heat
   the oil in a wok to very hot (about 380F). Test the
   oil by dropping a small piece of Rice Crust into it.
   It should float immediately. Slip the whole Rice Crust
   into the oil. As it begins to puff up like popcorn,
   break it up into large chunks with long chopsticks.
   Turn it to brown on all sides (about 1 minute). Remove
   the rice and drain it. At the table, add the rice to
   the serving bowl of soup. It will sizzle as the steam
   rises and provide quite a show. Add the scallions and
   sesame oil just before serving. (The oil used for
   deep-frying can be cooled, strained through a fine
   sieve and stored in a jar for future use.)
   FOR RICE CRUST: Prepare rice as you normally would,
   but cook it in a wide, heavy pot at least 15 minutes
   after the rice is soft so that a crust forms on the
   bottom of the pot. Spoon off the top layer of loose
   rice and set aside for Fried Rice or freeze it for
   future use. If left to stand overnight at room
   temperature, the crust will be easier to remove from
   the pot. To use the rice right away, keep the pot on
   low heat and dribble peanut oil around the edge. Heat
   for a few minutes, then loosen the crust with a
   spatula. It should come out in one whole piece. Invert
   the crust onto a plate. It can now be frozen for
   future use or used while still hot.