Preparation: Rinse chicken, remove fat pockets, pat dry, and chop into bite-size pieces.
Peel and slice ginger root. Wash and cut asparagus into 2" sections.
Braising: Heat wok to medium hot. Add sesame oil. Start braising chicken a few pieces at a time when oil begins to smell. Sesame oil will burn at lower temperature than other cooking oils, so avoid hot wok.
After browning lightly, return chicken pieces to wok; add ginger slices, sherry and salt.
When sherry boils, add water and sugar. Turn up heat, bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and asparagus, simmer for another 15 minutes.
Transfer to covered soup tureen (or put plate on top of soup bowl), place in steamer on low, and hold until ready to serve.
You can make this soup in large sauce pan, if wok is needed for something else.