Watercress & Fish Ball Soup 鯪魚球西洋菜湯
By Ellen L.Published: 2014-12-05
Recently my 老公 has been trekking out to all the far flung ends of Hong Kong for his work. There has been a wonderful side benefit to us on the eating side of things, though, cuz he's been finding and bringing back home all sorts of delicious things to cook and eat! The other day he came back tired and hungry with a really huge bag of something green. I scratched my head at first, wondering what on earth he could of brought back that was so big and green. Turns out it wasa big ol bag of farm fresh watercress, picked that very day from Hong Kong fields! Wow, I could have never imaged that, living as we do in the middle of a concrete jungle, we could still cook up a yummilicious pot of Watercress & Fish Ball Soup 鯪魚球西洋菜湯 using freshly picked watercress!
The farm fresh water cress was so beautiful, as all truly fresh things are. I couldn't stop staring at the pretty green color. (Nutty, I know but it felt so good!) We didn't cook it right away so we put all the watercress in a big bowl of fresh water to keep it happy. Watercress is composed mostly water and will melt and mush away quite quickly if not kept in water.
We decided to make the Cantonese classic Watercress & Fish Ball Soup with our super fresh greens. This soup is easy to make and just delicious, a light, slightly peppery, fresh tasting soup. Plus watercress is just loaded with healthy things like iron, iodine, manganese and folic acid. Besides the watercress, you will need to find Dace Fish Paste, or 鯪魚滑, which you can find at your friendly chinese grocery store, or, if in Hong Kong, at your local wet market. If looking for this item at the local wet markets, check the fish vendors and also check the tofu vendors. It's absolutely fabulous to get these fish pastes at the wet market cuz they are made right there with the freshest ingredients possible! We get ours from our tofu vendor and it's a super fragrant mix of dace fish meat, dried tangerine peel and other secret ingredients which no amount of asking and begging has pried from the purple lips of the grumpy old guy who runs the shop.
But if you can't get Dace Fish Paste, no worries, look for Dace Fish Balls or just substitute some other fish ball that you like, the fresher the better.
With this super healthy dish you will get two dishes for one, ie one soup and one main dish of boiled fish balls and gently cooked watercress. Remove cooked fish balls and watercress, arrange prettily on a plate. Pour out soup into your big soup bowl. Serve with a side of good, non MSG soy sauce for dipping the fish balls.
Watercress & Fish Ball Soup Recipe 鯪魚球西洋菜湯
1/2 lb Dace Fish Paste
1 big bunch watercress
2 tbsp concentrated chicken stock (no msg, please!)
1/2 tsp white pepper
salt to taste
Thoroughly rinse the watercress. Boil a pot of water (around 2 liters) in a deep pot. When water is boiling add in the fish paste using two spoons, one spoon to scoop a tablespoonful of the paste, the other spoon to slide the paste off the first spoon into the water. Add the chicken stock and white pepper. Let boil vigorously for 8-10 minutes. Add the watercress in. Stir and press the watercress into the soup. Let cook for 1-2 minutes or until bright green. Water cress should be just tender. Add salt to taste, turn off heat. Pick out the fish balls and watercress and arrange prettily on serving plate. Pour soup into soup tureen. Serve with a small dish of soy sauce for dipping the fish balls.
More Dace Fish Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Steamed Sun Dried Dace 蒸臘鯪魚
Fried Dace with Salted Black Bean Stir Fried with Indian Lettuce 豆豉鯪魚炒油麥菜
Fried Dace with Salted Black Bean 豆豉鯪魚