Chinese style traditional creamy fish soup.
This is a childhood dish for almost everyone in Mainland China. Usually we use crucian carp. With very simple and common ingredients, the soup tastes excellent.
When I was still a child, crucian carp was really common and most of times, my father could find some in our rice filed. Crucian crap relatively speaking bones in the meat, however it is a great source of high quality protein. So the common methods of cooking those small fishes with lots of fishbone were deep-frying or making a soup. For smaller ones, coat with starch and egg firstly and then fry until even the bones becomes crispy, which is my grandfather’s favorite snack. For bigger ones, soup was the best choice. After around 30 minutes of simmering, the creamy soup absorbs most of the flavor and meat is always discarded. However I still eat fillet.
After I gave birth to my little girl, my mother and mother –in law stewed lots of this kind of soup for me because in Traditional Chinese Medicine, crucian carp soup can help mother to produce more milk. So I never tried to make this soup in the past year. No matter how delicious one thing is, eating it every single day or every two days is such a disaster for a foodie as me. But please do not take me wrong, it is yummy to me again and 100% suitable for males too.
There are lots of varieties of this fish soup with different side ingredients. For example, you might know tofu fish soup. And since it is in cooler winter, white radish will be an excellent side ingredient.
The white color of the soup comes from the high fire long time cooking but not from tofu or white radish. The following picture is a pure fish soup I made for my little daughter.
Brush some oil on a pan and fry ginger slices for around 30 seconds. Carefully slide the drained fish in. Let it stay for around 30 seconds over medium fire until one side becomes slightly brown. Turn the fish over and continue frying the second side. Pour around 2 L of cold water or enough water to almost cover the fish body. Add cooking wine, green onion and then turn up the fire and bring it to boil. You can see the change of color via the following step pictures.
And here we are!
Chinese Fish Soup
- 1 fresh fish around 300g
- Half of a middle size white radish , finely shredded
- 4 slices of ginger
- 1 green onion
- ½ teaspoon salt or as needed
- 1 teaspoon cooking wine
- 2 L cold water or as needed
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- Coriander for decorating and garnishing
- Scale the fish and remove the black membrane in the inner side. Drain thoroughly with paper. Set aside.
- Peel the tough skin of white radish and then cut into shreds.
- Brush some oil on a pan and fry ginger slices for around 30 seconds. Carefully slide the drained fish in. Let it stay for around 30 seconds over medium fire until one side becomes slightly brown. Turn the fish over and continue frying the second side.
- Pour around 2 L of cold water or enough water to almost cover the fish body.
- Add cooking wine, green onion and then turn up the fire and bring it to boil.
- Add white radish shreds and slow down your fire slightly, cook for around 25 to 30 minutes until the soup becomes creamy white.
- Discard ginger slices and green onion.
- Add salt and decorate with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
By the way, if you like spicy fish soup--Check Szechuan boiled fish too.
What would be a good substitute for carp? Would you recommend red snapper? I notice that the fish does not break up even after boiling. Is this particular to carp or would other fish also retain their shape after boiling?
Theoretically, you can use any fresh water fish with enough fat. As long as the fat content is guaranteed, you can get the creamy soup. Do not stir the soup when boiling and you can keep the fish almost as a whole piece.