Fish Maw & Abalone Soup 鱼鳔鲍鱼汤
One of my favourite Chinese New Year (CNY) ingredients is fish maw. I like to eat it throughout the year, and not just during this festive season. It’s actually the swim bladder found in certain fish, and scary as it may sound to some, I love the taste and texture. They are delicious when braised or in steamboat, but one of my favourite ways of eating it is in a thick soup, something like those chunky shark fin soup served during Chinese wedding dinners. Another good news for fish maw lovers is that it is said to be high in collagen. I tried creating this soup from leftover abalone from my braised abalone dish and it was good. If you have leftover fish maw after CNY, this is one recipe you can try out.
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When buying fish maw, go for higher grade ones without the “greasy stink” though I know some people actually like this smell. Soaking the fish maw in hot water till softened then squeezing out the liquid and repeating this process help greatly to remove the smell. The ones I got were quite high quality from Hong Kong, and they were naturally clean with no strange odours, therefore I only soaked them in hot water once. I kind of regretted using cheap crab meat when cooking this. I bought a packet of frozen cooked crab meat for convenience but the quality is just not there. Next time, I will use real crab meat for this recipe or serve the soup with a giant crab craw for maximum taste. If I’m too lazy, I will just omit the crab meat altogether.
- 25g fish maw, soaked in hot water till softened, then cut to small pieces
- 3 slices ginger
- 200g cooked crab meat
- 4 pieces of woodear fungus, soaked in hot water to soften and sliced thinly (discard the hard part on the centre underside of the fungus)
- 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 800ml of good quality broth (I use a mixture of chicken broth and some broth from the abalone can)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (for the colour, adjust to your preference)
- cornstarch solution: mix 2 heaped tbsp corn flour with 4 tbsp water
- white pepper powder
- black vinegar
- sliced abalone
- shredded chicken (boil a piece of chicken breast for about 15 minutes, shred when the chicken is cooled)
1. Bring broth to a boil, add fish maw and ginger. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add woodear fungus and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add crab meat and bring to a simmer for another 3 minutes. Add dark soy sauce (1/4 tsp at a time) to acheive a slightly darker colour (adjust to your preference).
4. Before using cornstarch solution, stir again to dissolve cornflour in the mixture. Slowly pour in the cornstarch solution while stirring until you reach the consistency desired. For thicker and starchier soup, add more cornstarch solution; for a more watery and soupy consistency, add more broth. I like my fish maw soup thick and chunky.
5. Season with salt, light soy sauce or other seasonings if needed. Dish into serving bowls and top with shredded chicken, sliced abalone and coriander. Serve on the side with white pepper powder and black vinegar.
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