Legendary Dishes | Yú Dòufu Tāng 鱼豆腐汤 (fish beancurd soup)

CHINA

Traditionally whole white fish were preferred, with two methods. The fish were gutted and either fried on both sides with ginger and onions, placed in a pot of water and cooked until the fish turned a bright white colour or the raw fish was added to the pot with raw ginger and raw onions.

Then the beancurd cut into small cubes was added and the left to cook with the fish for around 25 minutes.

Flavourings would have included fresh or dried kelp, fresh and dried mushrooms and soy sauce.

While the method has remained for the traditionalists, fish beancurd soup now has only two common denominators – fish and beancurd.

Fish now means prawns, scallops, shrimp and squid in various amounts, the white fish version left to the traditionalists.

The beancurd is generally fresh.

Meat is now added, usually chicken and pork.

Aromatics now include bean paste, fermented black beans, garlic and sesame oil.

The liquid medium is likely to be chicken stock.

  • 1.75 litres chicken stock
  • 500 g beancurd, fresh
  • 250 ml mushroom-soaking water
  • 100 g dried shrimp, soaked in water (optional)
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 90 g bamboo shoots
  • 60 g shiitake mushrooms, small, reconstituted in water
  • 35 g ginger root, peeled, sliced thin / minced
  • 30 g dried roasted squid, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce / mushroom soy sauce
  • 15 g dried kelp, reconstituted in water, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp rice wine, small splash
  • Sesame oil, 3 drops

Add the bamboo shoots, ginger, kelp, mushrooms, mushroom-soaking water, spring onions and squid to the stock, bring to the boil.

Reduce heat, add rice wine, seasame oil, shrimp and soy sauce. Simmer for five minutes.

Add beancurd. Bring gradually to the boil. Test mushrooms. The soup is ready when the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked.