How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Soup Name: Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Traditional Chinese Name: 番茄魚湯 (fān qié yú tāng). The literal translation of this is Tomato Fish Soup. However, this is such a generic name for the soup base (consisting usually of fish and tomatoes), but the soup also usually has other vegetables such as potatoes, which are most common.

Nature:  Slightly cooling (due to the seafood, but I’ve added both ginger and red dates to warm it slightly)

Taste: Sweet and savory

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

This soup eats like a meal!  So you can serve it with rice or noodles for a complete, health, meal for the whole family!

I did my first LIVE production (on YouTube instead of Instagram) and this is the condensed version of it with narration.

You can watch the full soup production here.

The soup design is simple. The soup base is basically ginger, fish (the freshest ones I could find at the supermarket), and tomatoes.  I then added vegetables that compliment this type of soup such as potatoes, celery, white onions, leeks.  You could add your choice of vegetables as well with the condition that it’s really designed as a quick-boil (and not a long boil).  A quick boil Chinese soup tends to be about an hour max on boil. 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 90 mins

Total time: 120 mins

Serves: 6 large bowls

Ingredients
  • Your choice of fresh fish.  I like red snappers, small fish are also good. Fish heads like salmon or carp are also nice.  Experiment, try, taste!
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh white onion, peeled and largely sliced
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and largely sliced
  • 4 stalks of celery, deveined and largely sliced
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 10 dried baby scallops
  • 5 dried red dates
  • 10 cups of water

Prep Instructions

  1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
  2. I will first prep my fish.  This includes descaling (whatever remains from the fish butcher) and thoroughly cleaning the stomachs.  I’ll use a flat knife to remove any extra internals and wash the insides and outsides.  If I’m steaming, I will use a bit of salt to rub the stomach clean and do a full deep cleaning.  The stomach is the bitter part of the fish and if not cleaned properly, you can taste it! I won’t cut off the fins for soup as it’s all going in together.
  3. Half the fish for easier frying and so that it fits into the fish soup bag.
  4. In your soup pot on medium heat, add some oil and fresh ginger.  Once that is warm, pan fry your fish until it’s beautifully browned on both sides.
  5. Using a clean fish soup bag, add your whole fish into it and pull the strings and seal. Set that aside for later.
  6. In the same pot, add white onions and prepared potatoes.
  7. On medium heat still, you’ll want to brown both of these nicely, tossing as needed as not to burn any of them.
  8. I will also add in the leeks and dried scallops at this time to blend the flavors.
  9. Once the scallops, onions, potatoes, and leeks are browned, put your fish (in the soup bag) back into the bottom of the pot.
  10. Add you in dried red dates.
  11. Add your water to ensure everything is fully covered.
  12. Cover and allow that to come to a full boil.
  13. Once the soup fully boils, add in the tomatoes and celery.
  14. Cover again and let that boil for an hour.
  15. Salt, serve and enjoy!

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Warming Sweet Yam with Ginger and Red Dates Dessert Soup

Warming Sweet Yam with Ginger and Red Dates Dessert Soup

Warming Sweet Yam with Ginger and Red Dates Dessert Soup

Soup Name:

Warming Sweet Yam with Ginger and Red Dates Dessert Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

蕃薯糖水 (gān shǔ táng shuǐ)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Sweet

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

Tips for an amazing sweet yam and ginger dessert soup:

 

  • I tend to use smaller cuts of sweet yam, about 1-inch cubes, because they are bite-sized and cook faster
  • Adjust your ginger accordingly.  The more you put in, the spicier it becomes.  When my girls were small children, I’d put less ginger, but now that they’re practically adults, I load on the ginger, especially during the winter and after their periods
  • Adjust your sugar as well based on taste.  You can also use brown sugar or cane sugar.  I’m not a fan of white processed sugar for this type of dessert soup because it doesn’t have that rich, golden flavour that the rock or cane sugar offers.
  • This dessert soup can keep in the fridge for a few days.  Just re-boil and serve and it’s just as delicious!

This sweet dessert is traditional to Hong Kong and the Chinese.  Literally, in Cantonese it means “Sweet Potato Sugar Water”. The simplest form of it is found here, although variations can have different herbs and ingredients that make it far more unique.  It is a warm and heaty dessert (especially if you use more ginger) and said to be extremely nourishing and helps removes toxins.  I enjoy this dessert all year round and my children especially love it.  Keep the sugar and ginger content low if intended for children.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 35 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients
  • 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes (can use any variety of sweet potatoes) – for this one, I went with the harder orange variety.  The skin and flesh are both orange.
  • 10 thin slices of ginger
  • 5 dried red dates, halved and cored
  • rock sugar (adjust accordingly to taste)
  • 2 L of water
Cooking Instructions
  1. Start boiling your soup water
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized cubes
  3. Slice ginger thinly (with or without skin) and drop into your soup
  4. Add in the dried red dates
  5. Cover and boil on medium for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. I will use a chopstick to poke them, usually around 15 minutes on high heat will suffice.
  6. Add in your rock sugar and adjust taste accordingly.  I don’t like it overly sweet, so it’s really based on personal preference!
  7. Serve and enjoy!

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Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

Soup Name:

Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

炖雞湯 (dun jī tāng).  This is the most generic soup name for a double-boiled soup (炖) chicken soup.  In general, when you use this term, it’s recognized as a healing, warm Chinese chicken soup, although the herbs may vary.  These are normally dense, highly flavourful, and packed with healing properties.

Nature:  Very warm

Taste: Sweet

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

Why the double-boil?

Double-boiling is a common cooking method in Chinese soups, usually reserved for richer, deeper flavoured soups with more herbs and density in its nutrition.  It is served in smaller portions and normally contains chicken (and sometimes pork with the chicken) to enhance its flavour and density.  The idea of double-boiling is to allow a gentle heat without the velocity and bubbling of the liquid to disturb a gentle “coaxing” of the flavours out.  It’s a very deliberate (and long) way of cooking as most double-boiled soups require at least 3 hours of boiling. 

Double-boiling itself will require a little more equipment instead of just one pot.  The double-boil is actually a pot within a pot.  The inner pot is usually made of clay, glass, or ceramic – something that’s NOT metal.  The outer pot can be anything that can hold the inner pot within it and enough water to cover at least half of the bottom of the pot.  What happens is the heat of the water then heats up the inner pot, which gently cooks the contents of the soup.  It will also never reach boiling within the inner pot because of heat transfer dynamics (oh, here we go again with thermodynamics).

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 3 hours 

Total time: 3 mins 15 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

  • 500 g of chicken breast (keep whole)
  • 10 whole dried red dates (pitted)
  • 10 slices of fresh ginger
  • 7-8 cups of cold water (average is 2 cups per bowl if you’re making individual portions)

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your outer pot, fill with enough water to cover up to 3/4 of your inner pot in height (to maximize the surface area of heat that the inner pot is boiling in).  You don’t want the water to be boiling inside and spilling into the inner pot though, so this will take some experimentation with your equipment. 
  2. Begin to boil your outer pot on high heat while you prepare your inner pot
  3. Add in the chicken breast (whole), sliced ginger, and red dates and cold water
  4. Cover the inner pot and lower into your outer pot (doesn’t matter if it’s boiling or not).  I will lower it in before it boils actually as it’s easier, but some people do say to put it in boiling water.  You can read this exploratory article on whether to use hot or cold water for blanching meats to read the science behind it for meats. 
  5. Turn the heat up until the outer water begins to boil softly and keep it at the temperature for the next 3 hours.  You can check on the water to see if it it needs refill, making sure it remains 3/4 covering the inner pot for maximum cooking effectiveness.
  6. Once that’s done, you can scoop from the inner pot and serve and enjoy!  

The back story to this specific soup is that it was designed to:

  • Increase yang deficiency and rebalance the body
  • Warm the body and improve blood and Qi flow
  • Support older women and men to harmonize yin and yang in the body (especially women 40+ and men 50+)
  • Reduce stress and relax the shen (spirit) 

 You can explore this article on “what it means to have cold hands and feet” and how this soup can help!

 

Would love to hear if you have any further suggestions and thoughts in the comments below!

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Healing Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup with Fish Maw

Healing Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup with Fish Maw

Healing Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup with Fish Maw

Soup Name:

Healing Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup with Fish Maw

Traditional Chinese Name:

花膠雞湯 (huā jiāo jī tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Sweet and savory

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

The star of this soup is FISH MAW.  This takes collagen to the next level! 

This soup is packed with natural collagens that help retain moisture, firmness, and bounce in the skin.

To make this soup, you’ll need to plan it a few days in advance because of the fish maw preparation.  I would suggest allowing 2-4 days to fully hydrate your dried fish maw.  This depends on the size and quality of the fish maw.

A few tips for preparing your fish maw:

  • I like soaking them in a glass bowl.  That way, I can see it in the fridge when I open and close the fridge door as it soaks.  You can check for murky water, spots on the fish maw, and generally that it’s soaking cleanly as it should.
  • I use tap water (in Canada), although some people recommend using cold boiled water as it’s cleaner
  • After they’ve soaked, I will also flash blanch them in boiling hot water (after the water boils with my blanching chicken since I’m blanching anyways)
  • Cut the fish maw after soaking them.  They’ll be sufficiently soft.

 

What makes this soup amazing?

  • For starters, it’s collagen packed!  Interesting fact though is that fish skin has more collagen than fish maw (according to this one study [source 1])!!!  I guess I’m going back to fish skin as an ingredient as it’s also way cheaper!
  • You don’t need salt or any other flavoring for this soup.  Don’t even think about adding chicken broth (I usually don’t for Chinese soups)!
  • This is a great soup base for other vegetables or additives should you choose to embark on this mission.
  • It’s a hearty soup which can double as a meal (just add rice!)
  • It’s PERFECT for postpartum, as it’s a warm soup with healing ingredients.

For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

What’s involved?

Pre-work: 2-4 days to soak & hydrate the fish maw

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 120 minutes 

Total time: 150 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. With the pre-soaked and re-hydrated fish maw, I will remove them from the fridge, strain out the water, and slice into 1-inch thick pieces (or however you’d like to eat them basically)
  2. At this time, you can prepare your chicken however you’d like.  I usually save the 2 breasts for a meal, keeping only the bones and thighs and feet.  
  3. In a separate blanching pot with cold water, add in as much water to fully cover the chicken and 2 slices of fresh ginger and add in your fresh chicken (there is much debate about whether to blanch in cold or hot water, but I have found it!  Incoming post!).  Use high heat to bring to a full boil.  You’ll begin to see the foam, debris, blood, and bones surface.  Just be careful it doesn’t overboil!
  4. As your blanching water comes to a boil, flash boil your sliced fish maw by dropping them in and fishing them out right away(just to be sure all the impurities are boiled out)
  5. At this point you can set your blanching pot aside and strain
  6. In your soup pot, add a teaspoon of oil and panfry a few slices of ginger with your fresh (or defrosted) abalone on med heat until they are golden brown.
  7. I will also throw in largely cut potatoes at this time and brown them a bit as well.
  8. Add your soup water and turn this on high heat
  9. Then add in the rest of the ingredients:  dried red dates, dried longans, dried sugar dates, dried Chinese Yam (or fresh), and dried scallops.  Cover and continue to boil on high heat for 30 minutes.  Once this is bubbling along nicely, I’ll reduce to a med high boil, still covered. 
  10. Boil for another 1.5 hours.
  11. At this point, you can drop in your prepared fish maw and let that boil for another 30 minutes on med high heat.
  12. Serve and enjoy!
  1. Cruz-López, Honorio et al. “Comparison of collagen characteristic from the skin and swim bladder of Gulf corvina (Cynoscion othonopterus).” Tissue & cell vol. 72 (2021): 101593. doi:10.1016/j.tice.2021.101593

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Soup Name: Fragrant salted egg soup base with vermicelli and napa cabbage (optional vegetarian-styled) Traditional Chinese Name: 鹹蛋集菜湯 (xián dàn jí cài tāng) – direct translation here is "salty egg vegetable soup". Nature:  Neutral Taste: Salty and sweet (You can read...

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Fragrant Vegetables in Salmon Soup

Fragrant Vegetables in Salmon Soup

Fragrant Vegetables in Salmon Soup

Soup Name:

Fragrant vegetables in salmon soup (Cantonese-styled)

Traditional Chinese Name:

雜菜蕃茄三文魚湯 (zá cài fānjiā sānwènyú tāng)

Nature:  Slightly cooling

Taste: Sweet and savory

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Tomatoes in a fragrant fish broth is a very common soup in the Cantonese soup repertoire.  It is commonly found in household soups and restaurants in Hong Kong.  The vegetables are optional, but do add to the abundance of the soup.  And there are many variations of this soup available as each chef customizes to their creative juices!

You can essentially use any fish for this type of soup.  Generally though, the Chinese will use more commonly found and affordable fish and usually the heads and tails and bones, reserving the flesh for steaming or dishes.

 

TIP!

 

I would recommend using a soup bag for any fish soups, however for this one, salmon bones are quite large and I was lazy and wanted to fry everything in one shot, so opted for not using one.  A soup bag helps keep soup bone safe and allows you to remove the fish easily and keep all the disintegration together.  I’ve bought these ones from Amazon, which are amazing!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours and 30 mins

Serves: 10 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Let’s start by frying the fish first in some ginger to seal the flavours and get it fragrant (and not fishy).  You can use a shallow pan or your soup pot (that’s what I’m doing in my cast iron pot because I was feeling lazy!).
  2. I’ll wash the fish in warm water first and then pat dry with paper towels.
  3. In your pot or pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil (enough to cover the pan) and then gently lay your fish flat so as much surface area of the fish can cook
  4. At this time, I will also make space for the pork shank to fry (instead of blanch in boiling water).  This is also because I was feeling lazy and wanted that fried fragrant flavour!
  5. Fry for 5 minutes or until it begins to golden brown.  It doesn’t need to be fully cooked, but at least the skin is browned. 
  6. Turn the fish on the other side and fry for another 5 minutes.  
  7. You can also rotate the pork shank around as it browns.
  8. At this time, you can prepare your vegetables, cut into smaller pieces.
  9. If you want, you can now put your fish pieces into a soup bag to begin the soup boiling to prevent the bones to disintegrate and for easier removal from the pot.
  10. I will also use the pan or pot to brown some of the potatoes, but this step is optional
  11. Add in the water to the soup, be sure to leave a bit of space to allow for the all ingredients
  12. Then add in all your ingredients to the soup
  13. Cover and bring to a full boil (about 20 minutes on full boil)
  14. And reduce to a low boil for another 2 hours
  15. Serve and enjoy!

This soup is also packed full of collagen!  The fish heads are the key ingredients that really to release all this sticky goodness into the soup.  One of the amazing things of using fish heads is both to not waste any part of the fish and also the amount of amazing collagen that’s available in the soup!

EQUIPMENT USED

To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups.  Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around.  However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!  

A great help for fish or small bones in soups, including small ingredients such as barley, fox nuts, spices just to keep everything together.

A MUST HAVE in the kitchen!  Energy saving, cost effective, and perfect for busy chefs!  Check out my article here that explains it.

Another MUST HAVE in the kitchen for soups!  It's so fine that it will scoop off the top oil and foam layer when using meats in your soup!

I use these types of stove top safe tea pots to make most of my herbal teas!

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GIVE YOUR LOVE OF SOUP.

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Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

Tea Name:

Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

Chinese Name: 

木瓜雪耳豬骨湯 (mù gua xuě ěr zhū tāng)

Nature:  Warm and ideal for moisturizing the body and lungs, supporting digestion and soothing the stomach.

Taste:  Sweet

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

I simply love snow fungus!  And this combination is a beautiful one in that at times, you’ll find this a dessert and other times, a soup!  I know, super strange.  But the combination of papaya + snow fungus can swing both sweet and savory! Which makes it so amazingly diverse!

What makes this combination so amazing?  It’s a combination of nourishing and lubricating the lung, stomach, and spleen with the papaya and the snow fungus.  This soup can soothe and aid in digestion, heal the stomach and stomachaches, and support lung treatment in coughs and dryness.  And of course, the added benefits of the plant collagen that is found in snow fungus (which, by the way can hold 500 times its weight in water!).  Reference this interesting article in the National Library of Medicine regarding snow fungus and its composition of collagen.

This is an easy to make, nutritious soup that is packed full of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. It is deliciously sweet and refreshing and ideal for autumn or winter days. You can use chicken to make it more warm and also add a variety of other ingredients to make it a meal.

Regardless of weather, this soup is designed to be moisturizing (from the inside) and perfect if you’ve got dry skin, dry lips, dry tongue (this is one key indicator from a TCM perspective).  In fact, some Chinese people claim that it’s part of their skin care regime to be consuming foods of this nature.  Bird’s nest is another one of those delicacies that call into this category of “self care”.  And you will often here Chinese ladies (and mothers) tell you how great this recipe is to stay looking “young”!

 

What’s involved?
Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 8 bowls of soup

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Rinse and soak dried snow fungus in a bowl of enough water to immerse it in for about an hour (or until soft)
  2. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch pork bones for 5 minutes, set aside and cool
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Wash and cut papaya into large edible cubes
  5. Using scissors, cut out the middle of the snow fungus (the hardest part) and cut the other portions into edibles pieces
  6. When your soup water boils, add in the pork bones, papaya and Chinese herbs.  I made this soup in the morning and set it into the thermal pot for the whole day, coming back to the soup in the afternoon and then dropping in the snow fungus to cook for another 2 hours.  Depending on how soft you want the snow fungus, I’d say at least an hour.
  7. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to medium heat for another hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and tricks:

  • Here’s a quick video on how to prepare snow fungus for Chinese soups
  • Be sure to cut out the hard middle, or buy snow fungus that doesn’t have the middle and is broken up
  • I like to use red papaya instead of green papaya for this version (green is more traditionally known to support milk production in post partum Chinese soups)
  • You can opt to keep the skin on the papaya during soup boil so it doesn’t disintegrate and break down into the soup
  • Snow fungus cooks and softens quite quickly.  Depending on how soft you’d like it, you can drop it in about 30 minutes before you serve, although I like it super soft and some of it dissolved into the soup (for that collagen benefit), so I drop it along with all the other ingredients.

 

EQUIPMENT USED

To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups.  Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around.  However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!  

A great help for fish or small bones in soups, including small ingredients such as barley, fox nuts, spices just to keep everything together.

A MUST HAVE in the kitchen!  Energy saving, cost effective, and perfect for busy chefs!  Check out my article here that explains it.

Another MUST HAVE in the kitchen for soups!  It's so fine that it will scoop off the top oil and foam layer when using meats in your soup!

I use these types of stove top safe tea pots to make most of my herbal teas!

EXPLORE MORE

How to make an Apple Cinnamon Chinese Herbal tea for Eliminating Damp-Wind and Damp-Heat

Tea Name: Apple Cinnamon Chinese Herbal Tea for Eliminating Damp-Wind and Damp-Heat Traditional Chinese Name: 蘋果祛濕茶 (píng guǒ qū shī chá) – direct translation here is “apple remove damp” tea. There are many damp removal Chinese herbal teas and this one blends flavours...

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Soup Name: Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables) Traditional Chinese Name: 番茄魚湯 (fān qié yú tāng). The literal translation of this is Tomato Fish Soup. However, this is such a generic name for the soup base (consisting usually of fish and tomatoes), but...

How to make vegetarian green and white radish carrot Chinese herbal soup packs

Tea Name: Vegetarian Green and White Radish and Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup Packs Traditional Chinese Name: 紅青蘿蔔湯 (hóng qing luóbo tang). Literal translation is "red pale radish soup".  The red means the carrots (usually), the pale means the green radish (usually),...

How to make an Apple Cinnamon Chinese Herbal tea for Eliminating Damp-Wind and Damp-Heat

Tea Name: Apple Cinnamon Chinese Herbal Tea for Eliminating Damp-Wind and Damp-Heat Traditional Chinese Name: 蘋果祛濕茶 (píng guǒ qū shī chá) – direct translation here is “apple remove damp” tea. There are many damp removal Chinese herbal teas and this one blends flavours...

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Soup Name: Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables) Traditional Chinese Name: 番茄魚湯 (fān qié yú tāng). The literal translation of this is Tomato Fish Soup. However, this is such a generic name for the soup base (consisting usually of fish and tomatoes), but...

How to make vegetarian green and white radish carrot Chinese herbal soup packs

Tea Name: Vegetarian Green and White Radish and Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup Packs Traditional Chinese Name: 紅青蘿蔔湯 (hóng qing luóbo tang). Literal translation is "red pale radish soup".  The red means the carrots (usually), the pale means the green radish (usually),...

GIVE YOUR LOVE OF SOUP.

FOLLOW US AND SHARE.