Papaya Fish Soup
Papaya Fish Soup
Traditional Chinese Name:
木瓜魚湯 (mù gua yú tāng)
This soup is neutral in nature and sweet to taste.
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This neutral soup is extremely rich in carotenes, antioxidants and vitamin C. It is the soup to make for women who are going through confinement and is said to aid in production of milk for breastfeeding women. The soup itself is very sweet and high nutritious. It is also ideal for babies and children.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 6 bowls
4 medium-sized golden threadfin bream (or any other appropriate substitute)
1 large papaya (use green papaya if used for increasing milk in breastfeeding)
5-6 pieces of dried scallop
2 slices of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of salt (to marinate the fish)
1 teaspoon of oil (to fry the fish)
- After the fish is cleaned, wipe the fish with paper towels or a cloth to remove excess water
- Cover the fish with a small amount of salt (inside and out)
- Let it sit for an hour and then drain any water
- Peel and cut the papaya into large edible cubes
- Start boiling your soup water
- In a pan, add oil and fry the ginger with the fish on low-medium heat (until the fish is completely cooked and the skin is a slightly browned)
- Put the fish into a soup bag and add to water
- Add papaya and ginger
- Boil for at least an hour
- This soup is rich vitamin C, carotenes and antioxidants
- It is said to aid in milk production for breastfeeding women (use green papayas in this case)
For videos, visit us on YouTube.
A selection of confinement Chinese Soups
What is confinement and confinement stories
Baby 5 & 6 Confinement story
Some confinement foods for your tummy!
The DO's and DON'T's of confinement
I am very happy that I found your website with helpful information & traditional Chinese soup recipes that my mother used to make! I remembered my mother used to make chicken feet soup however I can’t remember what she puts in the actual soup – do you have a recipe for it? What is it good for? Thanks so very much!!!
Thank you – try this soup: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/sea-snail-chicken-soup/ (Sea Snail Chicken Soup) – it’s a classic that is simple and easy to make that has chicken feet. We will put up more variations of chicken feet soups! Lisa
Hi Lisa, Thanks for the quick response! I made the soup today – I couldn’t find bream so I used perch fish – it was kinda fishy – is it the fish that I used or is that normal? I will check out the chicken feet soup : )
Did you fry the fish first? Use a bit of ginger while frying. I have a fear of “fishy” tasting soup, but yes, some fishes are fishier than others. A few things to try to help eliminate fishy taste is to make thoroughly clean it (multiple times if need be), ensure descaling is thorough and then re-wash. Make slits along the side of the fish before frying. Another suggestion is to soak the fish in 1 part water and 1/4 part milk for an hour and then wash (interesting find on the web). Hope this helps and let me know how your future fish soups fare!
Wow, this site is a blessing. So glad you’ve taken the trouble to set up this website, and post all these ole-style soups that I love. Can’t wait to try the recipes!
hi there…green papaya is not sold here in New Zealand….can you suggest a substitute….i plan to use this to aid in breast milk production…thanks!
Chris, very late reply to this (missed the comment). Green papaya is raw papaya – so if you buy it before it’s ripened, than it is the same. Papayas take about 4 months to mature and contains high papaya enzyme and vitamin B. Hope this helps. Not sure if you can get the giant papayas in NZ – in Asia, there is a variety of papaya that is the size of an american football. Lisa
Thanks for creating this site.. it’s great for all those 2nd generation Chinese who have heard about these soups but have no idea how to make them. I have been drinking this Papaya and Fish soup ever since my baby arrived and it has helped to increase my breastmilk production.
I’ve included a few links to your site on my blog. Hope you don’t mind!
I have a friend who have just suffered a miscarriage and I heard that the food prepared for those who had miscarriage is the same as those who are in confinement. Is this true? If so, can i use the above recipes to cook for her? I have no experience in cooking Chinese dishes at all even more for confinement ladies…but I would like to make an effort for this friend, as she has not been eating at all. Kindly guide. Thank you.
A great recipe for miscarriage is: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/worm-grass-chickensoup/ – however yes, the concept is the same. Make heaty, healing soups that are typically used for confinement. Ginger is definitely your friend and chicken soups are ideal. Hope this helps and all the best. Lisa
can this be taken even not on confinement? Any effect?
Dear Lyssa. Absolutely can be taken not even during confinement. I actually make this all the time because it’s sweet and nutritious and healthy for the kids. For confinement, they recommend unripened papaya, but for my normal version, I will use semi-ripe papaya. Hope this helps! Lisa
Hi Lady Tong,
How come my soup doesnt turn milky like the one in the picture?
Where could have gone wrong?
Hi Lady Tong,
I have tried preparing your Fish Papaya Soup recipe and it tastes great! My kids love it too.
But can i still add scallops to the soup during confinement?
So glad i’ve found your website 🙂
Scallops are totally OK ingredients during confinement! In fact, dried scallops (or conpoys) are one of the regular ingredients we use for the confinement soups (as the base). Hope this helps and thank you! Yah, my kids love the Papaya Fish Soup too, it’s not too fishy once you fry it and it’s pretty sweet! Lisa
Besides the golden threadfin bream, is there other fish I can use? It’s hard to find this fish where I live. They don’t offer it at the supermarket at all….
Thanks for this blog. it’s very helpful.
When i bought the green papaya, the hawker advised caution on drink the soup too often. The reason being if cooked with the right ingredients, it will lead to high milk production. Conversely, it could lead to cough because green papaya is “cooling”.
Could you advise if additional “yang” ingredients need to be added?
Dear Ken, it is slightly cooling, but I wouldn’t say it’s risky cooling. For most of these soups (ie: confinement ones) and ones made with fish, I would highly recommend using ginger in the soup as well. A few slices of ginger should bring the yang back and reduce the cooling and even make it heaty depending on how much you add. In terms of preparation, what usually happens is you fry the fish in ginger first in a pan before adding it to the soup. Simply throw in the same ginger you fried into the soup to boil out. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks, Lisa
more than two chinese drs told me women in their first trimester aren’t suppposed to eat papaya becuase it contracts uterus?
Thank you so much for your recipe!! There are so many soups that my mom used to make and I don’t know how. Thank you so much for helping me keeping the heritage going. I am sure now I will remember to teach my little girl!
For the fish, did you keep the fish heads for the soup?
Dear Kama, yes! Absolutely! The heads have lots of collagen and good stuff that melt into the soup, so definitely keep it! Lisa
papaya is a fruit rich in papain which is anti-inflammatory and is good for the skin. it cleanses the skin and keeps it young because itis rich in antioxidants as well. a hearty soup for a healthy body. bravo!
The Papaya Fish Soup I made and it really helped increase milk production when I breast fed my son for 1 year was made with the following ingredients:
Green Papaya (unripened)
Grass Carp tail
I seared the fish tail in a pan first and added it last to the mixture and boiled on low for about an hour.
Papaya fish soup is yummy…the two boys likes it…
Hi Lady Tong, do we add the scallop and dates into the soup after adding the papaya and the ginger? Thanks
Dear Nic, you can actually add everything together once the water boils. Hope that helps, Lisa.
Hi, possible to use only fish bone instead of the whole fish?
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May i know if the ginger is the old or young one?
Dear Sandy, I usually use young ginger for frying and cooking. Older ones can be used for recipes for confinement like with Pig’s feet. Hope this helps! Lisa
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