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Fish maw for Chinese soup

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19 replies to this topic

#1 seabream

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:46 PM

I picked up a dried fish maw from a Chinese store, with the goal of making Chinese fish maw soup.

Does anyone have a good recipe or good ideas/advice on how to make soup with fish maw? I searched my Chinese cookbook collection and couldn't find one single mention of this soup. I found a few recipes on the internet, but I'm not thrilled with any of them.

Thank you for any replies!

#2 TheTInCook

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:43 AM

Hmm, maybe check out Bruce Cost's book, Asian Ingredients. It usually has good coverage on how to use odd ingredients like that.

#3 Carolyn Phillips

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:18 PM

I haven't tried this recipe, but it looks like it might be really good: Steamed Garoupa on Fish Maw. It comes from a Cantonese cookbook, "Dried Seafood & Chinese Foodstuff." Let me know if you want me to post the recipe, as well as whether you need the info on how to rehydrate the fish maw (i.e., swim bladder).

Admire your adventurousness and look forward to seeing what you make!
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#4 Dejah

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:20 PM

http://www.cookingch...cipe/index.html

Just checked this site out and it's similar to what I do. I use raw chicken - marinated with cornstarch, salt, and a bit of oil instead of cooked chicken. And, I don't usually need to add cornstarch slurry at the end. I put less Chinese mushrooms in, but I may add diced wintermelon if it's on hand.
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#5 fledflew

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:15 PM

Crab and fish maw soup is one of my favorites. I use a very neutral white chicken stock. Simmer the fish maw in it, add some shimeji or enoki mushrooms if I have them around, and then add plenty of crab and white pepper into the soup. I use Phillips refrigerated crab meat in the can - I think it's a very good product for this purpose. Once it comes back to a simmer, I drizzle egg white into it to form threads and then thicken with a cornstarch slurry. Sometimes I garnish with cilantro or scallion.

#6 seabream

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 01:09 PM

All great ideas! I'm wishing I had picked up two or three fish maws so I could try them all...
Will pick up the recommended books from the library.

Thank you all for the replies!

#7 SusieQ

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:17 PM

Every time (maybe three times) I've asked in a Chinese restaurant about fish maw soup, the servers always tell me I won't like it, so I never order it. Can anybody say what the taste is like? I get that it's a strong taste, but is it bitter or more like liver or more like a strong fishy taste? Thank you for any hints!

#8 fledflew

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:30 PM

Fish maw by itself has little/no flavor. Like sea cucumber, it is a textural ingredient. Squishy, slimy, and gelatinous are the best words that I can come up with to describe its texture. When simmered in broth with other ingredients, it takes on the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. It's most often prepared in soups where it is cut up into small lima bean-sized pieces.

#9 seabream

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:30 PM

From my experience (and I'm not that experienced), it's more about the texture than the flavor.

Fish maw has a rubbery texture, sorta like gelatin before it dissolves (I know my description doesn't sound appealing, but I find it a pleasant texture). It adds another dimension to soups.

As far as taste goes, I don't remember it being that strong. Maybe someone else can correct me? (Or I can tell you after I cook my own fish maw soup...)

Yeah, I've noticed that people in Chinese restaurants are often overly protective of Western clients (probably with good reasons). It's true that you may not like it, but I would insist on it next time. If you don't like it, it's not that expensive anyway, and at least you'll know. If you do like it, that's fantastic! Maybe you'll be reporting back to this thread with your own experiments cooking this soup.

#10 SusieQ

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:42 AM

From my experience (and I'm not that experienced), it's more about the texture than the flavor.

Fish maw has a rubbery texture, sorta like gelatin before it dissolves (I know my description doesn't sound appealing, but I find it a pleasant texture). It adds another dimension to soups.

As far as taste goes, I don't remember it being that strong. Maybe someone else can correct me? (Or I can tell you after I cook my own fish maw soup...)

Yeah, I've noticed that people in Chinese restaurants are often overly protective of Western clients (probably with good reasons). It's true that you may not like it, but I would insist on it next time. If you don't like it, it's not that expensive anyway, and at least you'll know. If you do like it, that's fantastic! Maybe you'll be reporting back to this thread with your own experiments cooking this soup.


Thank you (and fledflew) for solving this mystery for me! I always just assumed it was a taste thing. But now that I know it's texture that they're warning me off of, I can happily not order it. Rubbery just doesn't appeal to me (mostly because I probably can't chew it :laugh: ). And unfortunately, with my budget, a $8-$10 soup would be my main dish, so if I don't like it or can't eat it, that's my dinner ruined. I don't want to give the impression of timidness when it comes to taste, though -- I love new tastes. That's why I was always tempted to order it.

#11 seabream

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:38 PM

I have made my fish maw soup and it was fantastic.

We decided to keep it simple and use cheap ingredients this time, in case the soup didn't turn out so good. We used tofu skins, dried lily buds, spinach and egg (all ingredients we already had at home), on a duck stock (I just happened to have a duck carcass in the freezer). The texture of the fish maw was really nice and smooth, like eating little bits of soft jello. I remember it having more of a bite in restaurants.

I am planning to continue making this soup, so that I can try the chicken and crab variations described above.

#12 Carolyn Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:16 PM

Any recipes or pictures you could share? It sounds incredibly good...
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#13 seabream

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

Carolyn,

Actualy, I did take a photo, which I'm attaching here. I didn't follow a recipe. I started by making a stock with a duck carcass, ginger and scallions (I made the stock in the pressure cooker). Then I soaked the tofu skins and lily buds separately until they were soft. When the stock was ready I added some salt to taste and put it in a pot on the stove, with the heat turned to medium. Then, I added the softened tofu skins, lily buds and raw spinach, and let the soup simmer just until everything was heated through. Last, I added a beaten egg in the style of egg-drop soup (with the help of a pair of chopsticks to slide the egg into the hot water in strands).

This was also my first time attempting the egg-drop soup technique, and it turned out really well - it's easier to do than it seems.

It was really yummy.

Let me know if you decide to try it. Would love to hear what you think about it.

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#14 seabream

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:47 AM

Oh, I forgot to say that I soaked the fish maw too, and I added it to the soup at the same time as the tofu skins and lily buds. The white things you see in the photo, floating on top of the soup, are the bits of chopped fish maw.

#15 liuzhou

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:49 AM

I don't get them dried round here. But here is a fresh one. About 20-25 mm long

Posted Image

I've never cooked it, but eat it often in restaurants. Yes, it is tasteless but all about texture.

#16 weinoo

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:59 AM

What part of the fish is that from?
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#17 dcarch

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:52 AM

It's like a balloon which helps the fish to float or sink by inflating or deflating.

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#18 Mjx

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:58 AM

Swim bladder!

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#19 Keith_W

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:07 AM

That's right, it is the swim bladder.
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#20 liuzhou

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:15 AM

What part of the fish is that from?


It is found in the guts of some fish, pretty much centrally, otherwise they would swim a bit lopsided.

It is found among the bits which, in the west, are usually thrown away at sea. We don't want nasty bits on our supermarket fish counters mentality.

In China, it is often the nasty bits which are most prized (with good reason).

(By the way, if you like a beer, you may have inadvertently come across these fellows before.)

http://liuzhou.co.uk...od-30-fish-maw/

Edited by liuzhou, 29 July 2012 - 08:24 AM.






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