Fill a colander with warm water and soak the cellophane noodles until
soft. Using a bowl, soak the lily buds and the dried mushrooms in hot water for
30 minutes. Pinch off the hard ends of the lily buds and tie a knot in each one.
Cut off and discard the tough stems of the mushrooms and slice the caps
thinly. Cut the cellophane noodles in short lengths no more than 5 cm. Peel garlic.
Wash cilantro plants very well and reserve leaves of one plant for
garnish. Roughly chop remaining plants including roots and put into
container of electric blender with garlic. Add 2 tablespoons water and
blend to a puree. If blender is not available pound garlic and cilantro
with mortar and pestle to a smooth paste.
de-vein the shrimps. Do not discard shells and heads, but wash and drain
well, then use for making stock. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large
saucepan, add the well-drained shells and heads and fry over high heat for
a few minutes until the shells turn bright pink. Add the 8 cups water,
cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then strain stock and discard shells.
Heat up a
dry and clean saucepan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry the onion until
soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cilantro
puree and stir constantly over medium heat until oil separates from the
mixture. Add shrimps and fry until they change color, about 3 minutes. Add
hot stock, lily buds, mushrooms and cellophane noodles and bring soup to
the boil. Lower heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add scallions,
fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Taste and if necessary add a little extra
salt. Beat the eggs slightly and pour into the boiling soup, stirring
constantly. Remove from heat at once. Serve garnished with finely chopped
fresh cilantro leaves immediately while still hot.