Is your FISH too fishy for your soup?
HERE’s How to use Fish in CHINESe SOUPS
Thank you for your questions! These make great topics for me to explore further and share my love of making soups and the best way to do it! So if you have any comments or questions, or would love to be features, do leave a comment in any of my social channels, links all below.
One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory. In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other. Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states. Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping). Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).
One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.
You can explore more about some Traditional Chinese Medicine theories in these posts.
Thank you for the question!
This is a great observation and question from a follower. I kind of took for granted that because I knew how to use fish, that it would be common knowledge, but now that I think back on it, I actually avoided using fish for a large part of my cooking career because of this exact thought about “fishy” fish.
Throughout my journey, I’ve learned there are so many ways to address the “fishiness” in using fresh fish in soups. The Japanese versus the Koreans versus the Chinese and even versus the South East Asians all have different methods in which to handle fish. I’ve explored a few in this video on YouTube.
Here are some tips for using fish in soups:
- You can either pan-fry or blanch your fish with ginger to minimize the fishy taste. I prefer pan-frying because it really creates that fragrant smell and enhances the flavors of the soup!
- Use a fish bag! This is important especially if you’re using small fish. This will help keep the fish together and the bones from disintegrating all over the soup.
- I tend to use fish for quick boils soup as they cook really fast and begin to break down and shred the longer it boils, especially if the water is bubbling more, or use a fish bag.
- I’ll use fish with bones in to keep the fish intact. If you want to use filets, flash boil them or do a genuine quick boil (20 minutes or less) on medium heat. This type of fish is used less for the taste of the broth and more as a protein in the soup.
- In general though, Chinese will use pork (pork shank or pork bones) along with fish (to add more flavours).
- There are so many types of fish to use in soups such as: Grass carp, salmon bones, all types of fish heads (bass, grouper, carp).
The great thing about understanding how yin and yang is balanced is that this also pairs with the cooking styles of Chinese soups!
You can follow this post on “How Different Styles of Chinese Soups are Made“.
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!