The smell of fish maw in the kitchen was very strong as I was boiling this ingredient in preparation of making this soup the night before. It smells like Chinese New Year; smells like how the kitchen and the entire house always smells like when my mum prepares the dishes before the reunion dinner. It smells very familiar, and very good.
My grandmother and my mother used to cook fish maw soup in a very traditional Teochew way, in that they would first prepare the soup with pork ribs, and then when cooking the fish maw soup itself, add in a ton of other ingredients including cabbage leaves, mushrooms, scallops etc to make for a filled pot of treasure. It’s really nice because the soup got to absorb all the different flavours of the ingredients in the soup and naturally, the longer they remained in the soup, the more flavoursome they became. I used to love waiting till the soup is almost gone to drink up the remaining spoonfuls of it, together with whatever remained at the bottom of the pot.
For my fish maw soup recipe this time, I thought of trying out the more typical version that we frequently get served during wedding dinners and in restaurants, instead of what my parents and grandparents did. It’s very simple to prepare, which makes it very easy to serve up with rice over a weekday dinner. Make sure to get fish maw that is of a better quality because this would definitely affect the texture and quality of a simple soup like this one.
- Dried fish maw: 50g
- Chicken stock: 1 liter
- Dried scallop: a handful
- Crab meat: 200g, flaked
- Shiitake mushroom: 100g, sliced thinly
- Egg white: 2
- Salt: to taste
- Fish sauce: to taste
- Starch mixture: 2 tbsp potato starch + 100ml water
- Black vinegar: to serve
- Ground white pepper: to serve
- Parsley: finely chopped as garnish
- Boil fish maw for 15 min. Drain and leave to cool before slicing into strips.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil. I added the stock that was used to boil the fish maw to make this stock.
- Add in dried scallops and leave to simmer for 10 min.
- Add in fish maw, crab meat and shiitake mushrooms. Leave to simmer for 5min.
- Slowly stir in egg whites, followed by salt and fish sauce.
- Stir in starch mixture to thicken the soup.
- Remove from heat. Serve warm with black vinegar, white pepper and parsley.
- Add the egg whites in very slowly while stirring the soup so that they do not form huge chunks of white in the soup. This would also allow the soup to thicken consistently.
- Add sea cucumbers into the soup for a more fulfilling Chinese New Year treat to serve out to your guests. Yummy!