3 Chinese Fish Porridge Recipes 鱼粥食谱

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Fish porridge is very popular in Singapore. Every hawker centre or food court have at least one stall selling fish porridge. 

Fish porridge 鱼粥 (yu zhou) is a one-meal dish featuring rice porridge with fresh fish.

Rice porridge is a comfort food for many Singaporeans. People who are ill or convalescing  would usually consume porridge because it is light and gentle on the digestive system.

Porridge water, the starchy liquid created from boiling rice contains vitamins B, A, E and minerals, is recommended for people suffering from diarrhoea caused by cholera or gastroenteritis as a dietary supplement.   

Fresh fish offers a burst of ocean sweetness and contrasting texture against the earthly note of the rice porridge. Any type of white fish with firm flesh can be used. Spanish mackerel is a clear favourite in Singapore. Followed by snakeheads 生鱼 (sheng yu). Salmon has also become quite popular in recent years. 

In Singapore, there are 2 main types of fish porridge sold: Teochew fish porridge 潮州鱼粥 (chao zhou yu zhou) and Cantonese fish porridge 广式鱼粥 (guang shi yu zhou).  

Cantonese Fish Porridge

Cantonese fish porridge is like a thick creamy rice soup. The fish used is usually boneless, thinly sliced or in small chunks. If the sliced fish is paper thin, it is added raw to the rice porridge and the heat from the porridge itself lightly cook the fish. Fish that are just done are heavenly. 

You can visit my How to Cook Porridge page to find out how to make thick creamy rice porridge.

Teochew Fish Porridge

Teochew fish porridge is a lot more watery. The rice grains are still distinct and firm. It resembles a thin rice broth with fresh fish chunks.

At a very traditional Teochew fish porridge stall, you can spot a huge earthern pot used to store the porridge base. It looks like a pot of starchy milky liquid. The rice grains are at the bottom of the pot. Once you place your order, the vendor will stir the pot and scoop an appropriate amount of rice grains into a smaller cooking pot and top up with some soup stock to cook. Add the necessary ingredients, ensure everything is cooked and hot before pouring the porridge into a serving bowl.    

A thing to note. Teochew fish porridge is not the same as Teochew porridge.

Teochew porridge is served plain with different side dishes that you pick and choose. These range from braised duck, peanuts, salted vegetables, steamed fish, fish cakes etc. These side dishes are served separately from the porridge. In Teochew fish porridge, the fish is cooked and served in the porridge. 

In the video above, you can see the amount of work that goes into preparing the soup stock for the porridge. 

Home Cooked Fish Porridge

Okay so much for street food. Now let's learn how to make some homemade fish porridge.

There are 2 ways to prepare porridge at home. You can cook the plain rice porridge first separately from the other ingredients. Or you can add the ingredients as the porridge is cooking. 

The method used depends on how delicate the ingredients are. Fish are delicate and so cannot be cooked for too long so it is better to use the first method. 

Recipe 1: Salmon Fish Porridge

This recipe serves 1. Increase the ingredient amount accordingly. If you need instructions on how to cook rice porridge, please visit the How to cook porridge page

Ingredients

  • 115g fresh salmon fillet
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Dash of sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of plain rice porridge
Instructions
  1. Slice the salmon fillet into bite-sized cubes. Season with some salt, sesame seed oil and cornstarch
  2. Wash the celery and cut into inch length strips
  3. Place the porridge into a cooking pot and heat it up. If it is too thick, add some fish stock or water
  4. Add the ginger, celery and salmon cubes into the porridge. Stir and cook till they are done
  5. Season the porridge with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Drizzle some sesame seed oil before serving

Recipe 2: Cod fish porridge recipe

Cod fish like most fish cooks quickly so it is added last. Cod fish can be substituted with other white fish fillets such as dory or snapper or spanish mackerel, and even salmon.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of plain rice porridge
  • 200g cod fish fillet
  • 50g straw mushrooms
  • 1 cup of soup stock
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Dash of sesame seed oil
  • Pinch of cornstarch
  • 1 stalk chopped spring onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste if necessary

Directions

  1. Clean the cod fish and cut into thin slices
  2. Marinate the fish slices with salt, pepper, sesame seed oil and cornstarch
  3. Place the soup stock into a soup pot, bring to a boil
  4. Add in the minced ginger and straw mushrooms
  5. Add the rice porridge and cod fish slices
  6. Stir and cook till the fish is cooked
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Garnish with chopped spring onion before serving

Recipe 3: White bait fish porridge recipe

 The amaranth leaves can be replaced by sweet potato leaves or spinach. 

Ingredients

  • 100g fresh white bait
  • 1 cup of plain rice porridge
  • 1 small bunch of amaranth leaves 苋菜
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash the amaranth leaves and blanch in hot water for a couple of minutes
  2. Remove and soak in cold water. When it has cooled down, cut into inch-sized strips
  3. Soak the white baits in water. Remove any dirt and drain
  4. Bring the rice porridge to a boil in a soup pot
  5. Add the white baits, amaranth, and cooking wine. Stir and cook till done 
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving

Happy Souping, Phoebe