June 23, 2018

Milky White Fish and Tofu Soup 拆魚豆腐羹

chinese, Fish and Tofu Soup, fish soup, recipe, shun tak, shunde, 拆魚豆腐羹, milky white, creamy, 奶白魚湯
By Published: 2018-06-23
Check this soup out!  This milky white, delicate and nourishing soup is made from nothing but fish and its bones!  A famous kind of soup which people murmur about in hushed tones, in awe of the whiteness of the soup and the culinary feats that are required to achieve that pure and awesome whiteness.  Well, sorry to those folks and yet hurrah for them as well, cuz I'm here to say that this milky white soup ain't so hard to achieve after all, if you know how to go about it!  No added milk, no added soup stock, just need some fresh fish and fish bones and you're well on your way to making a totally fabulous, milky white, Fish and Tofu Soup 拆魚豆腐羹, that not only is a beautiful creamy white but also tastes out of this work yummilicious!  (And it's the best thing ever for when you're feeling under the weather!)

chinese, Fish and Tofu Soup, fish soup, recipe, shun tak, shunde, 拆魚豆腐羹, milky white, creamy, 奶白魚湯

The secret, naturally, is in the bones.  Fish bones that is.  That's the first part of the ancient Chinese secret to milky white soup.  I've no idea at all why this works but it really does.  This fish soup is made with the grass carp fish, or 鯇魚, usually the tail of the fish.  If you want really white soup, the more bones the merrier, so ask your fish monger for as many extra fish bone bits as you can. 

chinese, Fish and Tofu Soup, fish soup, recipe, shun tak, shunde, 拆魚豆腐羹, milky white, creamy, 奶白魚湯

The fish is pan fried until golden brown.  This is absolutely necessary to the process.  Again I don't know why.  Honestly it seems a bit counter intuitive.  But if you don't fry it golden the fish soup won't turn milky white.  Go figure...maybe it's just ancient Chinese magic...

chinese, Fish and Tofu Soup, fish soup, recipe, shun tak, shunde, 拆魚豆腐羹, milky white, creamy, 奶白魚湯

Once the fish is fried golden brown it's time to get the fish meat off the bones.  Remove the skin and discard.  Use a fork or your fingers (I found fingers more efficient) and remove as much of the meat as possible.  We'll be putting all these delicious bits of fish meat back into the soup later.  Now take all the bones and pan fried those puppies again until a golden brown all around.   

And here's the second part of the ancient Chinese secret to milky white fish soup:  when you add water to the pot to make the soup, make sure it's boiling hot water.  My hubby 老公 figured this out and, no, I've no idea why it works, but this tip will make your soup super milky white!  Once you've completed these steps you will see your soup turn an opaque white...magically delicious!  The addition of the few remaining ingredients, the mushrooms, tofu and fish meat, and a quick stir in of a bit of starch to thicken up the soup slightly and your lovely milky white fish soup is ready for the table.  So you see, mystical milky fish soup is not so hard after all.  Alright, enough talk of ancient Chinese secrets...go make some milky white fish soup already!  

chinese, Fish and Tofu Soup, fish soup, recipe, shun tak, shunde, 拆魚豆腐羹, milky white, creamy, 奶白魚湯

Milky White Fish and Tofu Soup Recipe  拆魚豆腐羹
(adapted from Shunde Home Cooking by 陳夢因)
Prep time:    Cook time:

3 dried mushrooms 冬菇
1 carp tail 鯇魚尾
3 slices ginger
6 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 soft tofu 300g, sliced to 1" cubes
1 tbsp potato starch (we like to use this one)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped roughly
1/4-1/2 tsp white pepper

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water just to cover for at least an hour or until soft .  When the mushroom is soft, remove the stem and slice into very thin slices.  

Wash and dry carp with kitchen paper as well as you can.  Add 1-2 tbsp oil into a hot wok, add in ginger and stir a little until fragrance is released.  Add in the fish and let fry over medium high heat until golden brown.  Flip over and repeat on other side.  Remove from pan and let cool.  When cool enough to handle, use a fork (or your fingers) to remove all the fish meat from the bones and break into small flakes, discarding the skin and setting aside the bones.  

Add a tbsp of oil into hot wok, add in the now meatless fish bones and fry again until golden brown on both sides.  Add in boiling water and turn up the heat to high.  When water reboils cover, turn heat down and simmer for 20 mins.  Pour soup thru a strainer to remove the bones, then pour back into pot.  Add in mushrooms and salt and bring the soup back to a boil.  Add in cubed tofu and fish meat and bring back to a simmer for 2 mins. Add a bit of water to corn starch, stir to dissolve the starch and add to soup, stirring in gently.  Remove from heat, sprinkle on cilantro and white pepper and serve hot.  Enjoy!

More Fishilicious Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:

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chinese, Fish Balls, fish slices, recipe, Rice Noodles, rice sticks, Soup, soup noodles, 湯, 米粉, 魚蛋Fish Ball Soup Rice Noodles 魚蛋湯米粉

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cantonese, chinese, Creamed Corn, Fish Maw, recipe, Soup, 粟米, 粟米魚肚羹, 羹, 花膠, 魚肚Fish Maw Creamed Corn Soup 粟米魚肚羹


  1. One of my favorite soups my mother makes! Thank you for your recipe and this blog.

  2. Hi what kind of fish can we use?

    1. Hi auratia - any kind of white meat fish should be okay. Just don't use oily fish like mackerel. ~ellen

  3. This soup is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. 🙏 I'm so happy that you liked our soup!! ~ellen

  4. Im going to cook this soup tomorow,, thank you for sharing😊😊

    1. Thank you in advance for making this soup, hope you and your family enjoy it! ~ellen

  5. Hello, why is it not a good idea to use oily fish for this? I am craving for fish soup and what I only on hand is some herring which are oily fish. I know deboning is a nightmare though.

    1. Oily fish, while delicious, makes for rather strong flavored fishier stock. For this more delicate broth, any kind of white fish is much more appropriate. ~ellen


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