Every time we come across a dish we love, we can’t wait to share it with our readers here on TWOL. Today, I would like to share our newfound love: this easy Fish and Tofu Soup (白菜豆腐鱼汤) or literally, Chinese bok choy tofu fish soup.
Winter is here, and we could all use a good bowl of soup to warm us up and for you fish and tofu soup lovers, this is it!
This dish is a great combination of two dishes I love: Shui Zhu Yu (水煮鱼) and Fish Tofu Soup. Shui Zhu Yu is a Sichuan dish of fish boiled in oil, with bean sprouts, chilis, and Sichuan peppercorns.
I love the dish, but it involves a LOT of oil. As for Fish Tofu Soup, it’s usually done with a whole fish, which is pan-fried and then added to a stock to boil. This fish soup is much easier than most easy fish recipes:
- There’s no need to deal with cleaning a whole fish (heads, tails and all that).
- You don’t have to pan-fry a fish, which can make your whole house smell like a seafood restaurant in Chinatown.
- We’re using fillets, so you don’t have to sort through pesky bones.
- It’s way less oily than the Sichuan classic.
The first time I had this soup was at a restaurant called Grand Sichuan in Jersey City, and I thought it was brilliant. The boneless fish is tender and tasty, the soup is superb, and it’s actually pretty healthy. Here’s how to make it!
Fish Tofu Soup: Recipe Instructions
Set aside while you prep the other ingredients (about 15-20 minutes). You should have all the ingredients ready to go before you turn on the stove!
Stir in the dried red chilies, if using, and cook for another 30 seconds.
Once boiling, lay each piece of fish on the surface of the soup (do this one by one. You don’t want the fish to stick together in one clump). The heat should still be medium high to high.
The key is to marinate the fish first so it’s tasty and moist. As you can see, this fish tofu soup is super easy and fast. It’s special enough for the weekend and fast enough for a weekday as well. Enjoy!
Easy Fish Tofu Soup
For the fish & marinade:
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1-2 thinly sliced ginger
- 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced; reconstituted dried shiitakes are also fine)
- 6 dried red chilies (optional, but they certainly add some nice heat)
- 1 cup soybean sprouts (mung bean sprouts will also work)
- 4 cups chicken stock (950 ml)
- 1 1/2 cups water (355 ml)
- 1 cup napa cabbage (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- ½ pound firm tofu (225g, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices)
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Salt (to taste)
- Chopped scallion
- Chopped cilantro
- Start by marinating the fish. Mix the fish and marinade ingredients together in a bowl and set aside while you prep the other ingredients (about 15-20 minutes). You should have all the ingredients ready to go before you turn on the stove!
- When you’re ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the ginger and mushrooms, and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Stir in the dried chilies, if using, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and stir for another minute.
- Add the chicken stock, water, napa cabbage, sliced tofu, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil and add salt to taste.
- Once boiling, lay each piece of fish on the surface of the soup (do this one by one. You don’t want the fish to stick together in one clump). The heat should still be medium high to high. Carefully move the fish around the soup so each piece gets submerged in the hot liquid. Bring the soup to boil, and it’s done. Serve with scallion and cilantro on top.
- The key is to marinate the fish first so not bland. As you can see, this soup is super easy and fast. It’s special enough for the weekend and fast enough for a weekday as well. Enjoy!