Chinese Seafood Soup Ingredients that Go Beyond Fish

> Chinese seafood soup

Chinese seafood soup goes beyond fish with the use of some exotic ingredients. 

The Chinese likes shellfish such as clams, and oysters. Crabs are well-liked too. Let me introduce 2 slightly more exotic seafood. But do you know of these 2 exotic seafood?

1. Sea cucumber 海参

Image by 设计 大齐 from Pixabay

Sea cucumber 海参 (hai shen) might be a new ingredient to you. It is commonly sold in dried form and have to be boiled and soaked in water for 1 to 2 nights to fully re-hydrate. It can be omitted if it is too troublesome or too weird for you.

Recipe 1. Seafood tofu soup

I like this seafood tofu soup. It has all my favorite ingredients. The ingredients are diced finely so you can get the freshness of the shrimps, fish, sea cucumber, crab, and silken tofu in every mouthful.

Ingredients

  • 80g sea cucumber
  • 80g shrimps
  • 80g fish fillet
  • 50g crab meat
  • 100g silken tofu
  • 750ml soup stock
  • 1 egg
  • 1 asparagus
  • 40g cornstarch solution
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and dice the prawns, fish and sea cucumber
  2. Parboil the seafood for about 2 minutes
  3. Wash, peel and dice the asparagus
  4. Bring soup stock to a boil, add the prawns, fish and sea cucumber, crab meat and tofu
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Stir in the asparagus and seasonings
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes or until ingredients are cooked
  8. Slowly pour in the cornstarch solution while stirring the soup. Do not pour everything in at one go
  9. Stir and see if the soup has reached the consistency you want
  10. Remove from the heat
  11. Beat the egg lightly and stream it slowly into the soup
  12. Serve it hot and offer some black vinegar to go with it

2. Conch 海螺 

Conch is used to refer to a group of shellfish. The shell is usually large with unique colours and design. Conch shells are great ornaments and souvenirs from a beach vacation. 

Conch meat is common in Caribbean cuisine. The most popular conch dishes are conch soup, conch fritters and salads. Some of you might think conch is bizarre food. Well, it does looks strange. If not cooked well, the texture can be chewy.

But it is reputed to be cooling and therefore good for the sweltering summer heat. Check out some conch recipes here. 

If you can find it at your local fishmonger, give the fresh ones a try. Otherwise, I believe there are canned or frozen ones. Here's one from Amazon.

Seafood porridge recipes

Fresh seafood also goes well with rice congee. Cook the rice porridge till the rice grains disintegrate into a a consistency like thick soup. The thick consistency coupled with the fresh crunch of fresh seafood makes a nice contrast.

Recipe 3. Fresh scallop rice porridge

Conpoy is the dried form of another very popular shellfish. Also known as scallop or 带子. 

The dried conpoys adds flavour to the porridge while the fresh scallops adds ocean sweetness. 

Ingredients

  • 40g dried scallop / conpoy
  • 150g fresh scallop
  • 8 cup of plain rice porridge
  • 1 tbsp ginger, julienned
  • Pinch of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and soak the dried scallop till soft
  2. Wash and cut the fresh scallop
  3. Marinate the fresh scallop with pinch of cornstarch
  4. Cook 8 cups of plain rice porridge
  5. Add the soaked scallop together with the water to the porridge
  6. Add the fresh scallop
  7. Cook the porridge for a further 5 minutes
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe 4. Fresh seafood rice porridge

Ingredients

  • 115g cuttlefish
  • 115g fresh prawn
  • 75g fresh scallop
  • 1 tbsp ginger, julienned
  • 6 cups of soup stock
  • 3 cups of cooked rice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Dash of sesame seed oil

Directions

  1. Wash and slice the cuttlefish
  2. Wash and clean the fresh prawn and scallop
  3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil
  4. Add the cooked rice
  5. Add the cuttlefish, prawn and scallop
  6. Cook another 2 minutes before removing from heat
  7. Season and serve

Recipe 5. Seafood and miso rice porridge

Ingredients

  • 150g fresh prawns
  • 150g fresh scallop
  • 40g miso
  • 3 cups of white rice
  • 6 cups of soup stock
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of sugar

Directions

  1. Clean the prawns and scallop
  2. Marinate with some cornstarch
  3. Dissolve the miso with some cold water
  4. Bring water to a boil and add the rice
  5. Add the miso solution and cook for 15 minutes
  6. Add the prawn, scallop and cook for 5 minutes
  7. Stir in the seasonings
  8. Remove from heat
  9. Garnish and serve

Always use fresh seafood with these recipes. Be meticulous about removing dirt from seafood, especially shellfish

Seafood paste

Seafood can be added straight to soups or they can be processed and added with other ingredients to form new tastes, textures and forms. A number of seafood can be made into pastes. Besides fish, there's shrimp and cuttlefish.

Recipe 6. Cuttlefish paste

Ingredients

  • 600g fresh cuttlefish
  • 11g cornstarch
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions

  1. Ground the cuttlefish in a food processor
  2. Mix the cornstarch with a little water
  3. Add the cornstarch solution to the paste and mix till slightly sticky
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Shape into balls or flat cakes for cooking

Recipe 7. Shrimp paste

Ingredients

  • 600g fresh shrimp
  • 6g salt
  • 11g cornstarch
  • Dash of sesame seed oil and pepper

Directions

  1. Minced the fresh shrimp till it turns into a paste using a good processor
  2. Mix the cornstarch with a little water
  3. Add the cornstarch solution to the paste and mix well
  4. Season with salt, sesame seed oil and pepper
  5. Shape into balls for cooking. See this paste used in this shrimp ball soup.

To change this shrimp paste into a stuffing, add 110g of fatty pork into the mixture. Stuff tofu pockets, egg plants, capsicum and fresh chilis.

Happy Souping, Phoebe