4 Asian Fish Stock Recipes That are Heart-Friendly 鱼高汤

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These fish stock recipes are more heart-friendly than pork or beef stocks.

Chinese soup stocks are made mostly with pork, chicken or beef and a variety of vegetables. Chinese stocks using fish is not very common. I think the French are better at making fish consomme. 

Nevertheless, I could still find a few good Chinese fish stock recipes. . 

I noticed that fish stocks can be made with fresh fish or dried fish. A good example is dried anchovies. 

Cooking time is also shorter. No more than 30 minutes

1. Using Fresh Fish

It is better to choose large fish with white flesh from the ocean like cod, flounder, threadfin and etc.

I know most supermarkets now do not sell fish bones. But if you can find them, use them. Using the whole fish is good too. The bones have nutrients and is full of flavour. 

When using fresh fish, make sure the fishmonger cleans the fish properly and thoroughly for you. We don't want to have to end up cleaning them ourselves. I cleaned fish during my Home Economics class in high school. It is not a pleasant sight. I wouldn't do it again unless absolutely necessary.

How to prepare the fish

The tricky part of using fish in stock is keeping the fish intact and getting rid of any fishy smell.

There is a chinese practice of frying the fish lightly first to brown the skin which then holds the flesh better. If you are afraid that frying in oil may make the stock oily, skinny the stock later. Baking the fish and fish bones is also a good way to impart more flavour and remove any fishy smell. It is less oily too. 

Another trick is to place the fish in a muslin bag before adding it to the pot. Remove the muslin bag when the stock is done.

Ginger is a must when using fish. Use big pieces so that they can be easily removed when the stock is done. Bruise the ginger pieces by pressing down with the side of a big knife.

Recipe 1. Fried fish stock recipe

Buy fresh whole fish to make this. The fish bones make a lot of difference.

Ingredients

  • A whole fresh fish weighing roughly 200g
  • 15ml cooking oil
  • 100g ginger
  • 3 stalks of spring onions
  • 10g peppercorns
  • 3 litres of water

Directions

  1. Rinse the fish thoroughly, pat dry
  2. Heat the cooking oil and fry the fish lightly
  3. Add the ginger and spring onion and fry till golden brown
  4. Boil the water with the peppercorns
  5. Add the fish, ginger and spring onions
  6. Bring back to a boil
  7. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour
  8. Remove the ingredients and strain

Recipe 2. Sea bass stock recipe

The sea bass in this fish stock recipe is not fried beforehand. Use a muslin bag to hold the fish or strain the stock later with a muslin cloth to get a nice clear stock.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sea bass, cleaned
  • 50g julienned ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 litre water

Directions

  1. Cut the fish into several pieces
  2. Bring the water to a boil
  3. Add the fish, ginger and cooking wine
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes

Using Dried Fish

Dietitians are concerned that dried ingredients have high sodium and preservatives but with proper preparation, we can reduce them and still enjoy the great flavour dried goods impart.   

Using dried ingredients to make soup is borne out of necessity and lack. Preservation techniques like drying and pickling prolong the usability of food. 

The most common and cheap dried fish in Southeast Asia that can be used to make soup is the dried anchovies. 

Another famous Asian dried fish is the Japanese bonito: dried tuna. It is used to make dashi stock (see the last video) and toppings for okonomiyaki and takoyaki. 

Recipe 3: Dried anchovy stock recipe 江鱼仔高汤

Try to find the larger sized dried anchovies. They should be pale in colour. Dried anchovies are intact with heads and guts. It is important to remove them before using. The video below shows how to remove the heads and guts. 

Ingredients

  • 200g dried anchovies
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 litre water
Instructions
  1. Remove the heads and black part of the anchovies
  2. Rinse the anchovies thoroughly. Rinsing wash away any grit or sand, it also wash away excess salt
  3. Peel the garlic and separate them into individual cloves
  4. Place the anchovies in a deep soup pot and add the water
  5. Bring the water to a boil and add the garlic
  6. Cook for 30 minutes 
  7. Strain the soup before using or freezing

What do you do with the leftover anchovies?

The cook in the video above didn't waste a thing. She made crispy anchovy snacks with the bodies and cat food with the fish heads and guts.

What a good idea! I am going to try doing the same. 

Recipe 4: Dashi stock with bonito flakes

Happy Souping, Phoebe