I have run up against the same challenges as you have, there are so many
recipes with so many ingredients that making this soup became a real
This is the one that I have come up with, with modifications.

Hot and Sour Soupy

1/2 cup dried mushrooms, soaked in water for 25 minutes, reserve broth
1/3 to 1/2 cup pork, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced fine
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I usually use black pepper, but the original
recipe said white, to me it is all appearance)
5 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup bean cake (tofu)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed into paste (set aside until ready to serve)
1 can concentrated chicken broth
1 can water (use the water from mushrooms)
3/4 cup Napa cabbage chopped (I usually cheat and add a can of bean
or water chestnuts sliced fine)

Soak dried mushrooms for approximately 20 minutes in hot water. Slice into
thin strips. Reserve liquid for broth. Put broth and water in pot and
bring to boil. Add all other ingredients. Continue to cook for about 10
minutes. Remove and let set for about 5 minute

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