Bowl of Sister-in-law Song's Fish Soup
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Sister-in-law Song's Fish Soup
China - Zhejiang
  -   Songsao Yugeng
Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 soup  
***
1-3/4 hr  
Part
A mild but quite satisfying fish soup with interesting contrasts of textures and flavors. It should be liked even by guests who claim they don't like fish. If doing a double recipe, steam in two batches.




12
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1
1/2
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5
1-1/2
1
1/3
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1
3-1/2
1
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1
2
3
tt
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oz
----
T
t
----
lrg
oz
oz
in
----
T
T
T
----
lrg
T
c

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Fish Fillets (1)
-- Steaming
Ginger Juice
Salt
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Shiitake (2)
Bamboo Shoot (3)
Chinese Ham (4)
Ginger root
-- Thickener
Black Vinegar (5)
Water
Cornstarch
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Egg Whites
Oil
Stock (6)
Salt
-- Garnish
Cilantro
Prep Fish   -   (45 min - 15 min work)
  1. Grate GINGER and wring out in a cloth to produce 1 T Ginger Juice. Mix with 1/2 t Salt.
  2. Set up your steamer rig (see Photo Gallery) and place FISH FILLETS on a rimmed plate in a single layer. Set plate in the steamer and spread Ginger Juice mix over the fish. Bring steamer to a boil uncovered (to minimize condensaton in the plate), then cover it and steam Fish until it flakes easily, 6 to 12 minutes depending on fish. Discard liquids and let fish cool.
  3. When cool enough to handle, flake Fish, not too small.
General Prep   -   (20 min)
  1. Cut stems from SHIITAKES. Slice caps horizontally, one or two cuts depending on thickness. Cut the slices into narrow matchsticks.
  2. Slice BAMBOO SHOOTS similarly thin and into narrow matchsticks short enough to fit in a soup spoon. Mix with Shiitakes.
  3. Cut HAM into similar matchsticks. Keep separate.
  4. Slice GINGER very thin crosswise and cut into narrow matchsticks short enough to fit in a soup spoon.
  5. Mix Thickener items.
  6. Chop CILANTRO for Garnish.
  7. Separate EGGS and beat the WHITES lightly. Use the Yolks for something else.
Run   -   (30 min)
  1. Bring Stock to a boil. Keep hot.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan (5 quart is good), heat Oil and fry Ginger, stirring until aromatic. Stir in Shiitake mix and fry stirring over moderate heat until Shiitake matchsticks are softened.
  3. Pour in hot Stock. Bring to a simmer for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in Ham and Fish Flakes. Bring back to a simmer for about a minute.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Beat the Egg Whites a little more, then pour through a wire sieve all over the surface of the soup. Do not stir, just let the whites solidify.
  6. Move the pot back onto the heat and bring back to a simmer for a minute. Gently stir in the Black Vinegar mix. Stir gently until the soup thickens.
  7. Check for Salt - for unsalted stock, about 1 t. If you used water and Fish Sauce for the Stock, about 1/2 t.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro.
NOTES:
  1. Fish:   The pattern recipe calls for Grass Carp, but that may not be easy to find outside California. For the photo example I used Tilapia, but other mild white fish could be use, provided they flakes well. Tilapia is delicate, so steaming time should be 7 minutes max. For details see our Varieties of Fish page (very large page).
  2. Shiitakes:   Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms are best, but lacking those, you could use dried Shiitakes (Black Mushrooms), soaked at least 3/4 hour in warm water and sliced into very narrow matchsticks.
  3. Bamboo Shoots:   Canned Bamboo Shoots are obsolete. The ones vacuum packed in plastic bags are much better, and don't need to be par boiled to remove the tinny taste. I use the small, wide "Green Bamboo Shoots" which are solid, and the right size for slicing into matchsticks.
  4. Chinese Ham   This is not common in North America, but here in Los Angeles the Asian Markets carry slices of dry cured Virginia Ham, which is considered a good substitute. For the photo example I used the lean part of Italian Porchetta. If pork is not acceptable, you could omit it, or break up a couple of small dried scallops into the soup.
  5. Black Vinegar:   This rice vinegar is available in most markets serving an East or Southeast Asian community. That from Chinkiang is considered the best, and Gold Plum is a good brand. For details see our Sours page.
  6. Stock:   A light chicken stock would be used in China, but a good light flavored Fish Stock could be used - or plain water with a Tablespoon of Thai Fish Sauce works well.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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