Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth
Fragrant potatoes and tomatoes in a milky fish broth (yup, fancy name!)
Traditional Chinese Name:
番茄魚湯 (fānqié yú tāng)
This name of 番茄魚湯 is literally the most staple name for any soup with fish and tomatoes in it. Of course, get creative!
This soup is neutral in nature sweet to taste.
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When you’ve got that milky broth going, you know you’ve got the soup base right for your fish soup.
It’s been awhile since I made a fish soup and my kids have grown up this pretty traditional Cantonese-styled soup from their grandma, so I decided to make it again in Toronto.
I wasn’t sure what type of fish I’d find at the supermarket for soup making, but it is pretty fully loaded!! To be honest, you can use any type of fish for fish soup. However, I would recommend using more of the bones parts of the fish. The head is the best with the tail being second and then stomach and main body. The head is packed full of calcium, nutrients, and collagen. And when boiled out in soup, dissolves into the soup and gives it more of that milky disposition. It’s truly amazing! Read on on how to prepare the fish.
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours 45 mins
Serves: 8 bowls
- 1 large fish head (or tail) – I used grass carp for this recipe, which I asked the fish vendor to cut into half and quarters
- 2 frozen abalone, defrosted, deshelled, cleaned
- 8 slices of fresh ginger, skin on is ok
- 2 potatoes, largely cube (pan-fried and huge, so they don’t disintegrate completely into the soup)
- 2-3 tomatoes, quartered
- 10 dried longans
- 1 tablespoon of dried scallops or conpoys
- 1 bunch of fresh green onions
- 2L of water (this amount will serve about 8), especially if you have it on a very low boil (so minimal evaporation)
Tips before you start!
- Pan-fry in ginger and oil (add scallions if you’d like) the first before you add it to the soup. This will make it more fragrant and eliminate the fishy smell and taste.
- Also pan-fry the potatoes on high heat, crusting all sides (doesn’t need to be fully cooked). This will keep it together in the soup and prevent it from dissolving and disappearing in the soup (and makes it super fragrant)
- Salt fish very lightly if you’d like. For this version, I actually didn’t salt at all! It turned out amazing and people can add salt afterwards as they like.
- .Start boiling your soup water in a soup pot on high heat
- Wash, clean, and pat dry your fish
- In a shallow pan, add in a tablespoon of oil, 8 ginger slices, and a bunch of largely sliced green onions on medium-high heat. Let that brown a bit.
- Throw in your fish, browning as much of it as you can. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked, just crisp the edges and meat on all sides. Once done, you can turn off the heat.
- Once your soup water boils, add in the fried fish along with the dried longans and dried scallops.
- Reduce that to a medium boil
- You can now peel and cut the potatoes into giant chunks
- In a shallow pan on medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and brown all the sides of the potatoes, as crispy as you can get. This crust will keep the potatoes in tack as it boils and softens.
- Once that browns, throw it into your soup.
- Cut up the tomatoes into large quarters and drop that into your soup as well
- You can then prepare the abalone and drop into your soup.
- Reduce to a low boil for about 2-3 hours. I did 3 hours for this.
- By now, you should have a beautiful milky broth. Throw in scallions for taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
My kids loved this soup! It’s something they grew up with and eat the potatoes as part of the soup.
I normally don’t keep fish soup overnight, but somehow I wanted to save some for the day after and when I went back to reheat it, the soup was congealed!! It was amazing! This means that the collagen (and there’s a lot) has hardened and simply gently reheat and enjoy again!
For those who love eating fish heads, I also didn’t use a soup bag as the grass carp head was pretty large. A lot of the meat does stay in tack and have separated from the bones, so you can “fish” for them at the bottom of the soup with a scooper! Enjoy!!