Monday, December 9, 2013

fish head soup with preserved mustard 鱼头咸菜汤

I love going to the market. I love buying fish.

Since I discovered that buying an entire fish was way cheaper than buying just the parts, I always buy the whole thing and ask my fish monger to cut it up for me.

I normally have him fillet the fish for me as the LAM and I eat pan-fried fish quite a bit.  I would use the bones to make a broth with which we would use to cook porridge for JL. But the head. The head can be a challenge. 

The first time I bought a whole fish, I didn't really know what to do with its head so I ended with with a pretty big fish head that I gave away. The eyes really spooked me out. Then I got smarter and I started asking my fish monger to either spilt the fish head in halves for cooking fish head curry, or chop it into smaller pieces. Always, I ask him to dispose of the eyes. *Cringe*

With the smaller pieces of fish head from my purchase at the market this morning, I cooked fish head soup for my Dad.

To start, I sliced ginger into thin pieces.

I also washed and cut some preserved mustard into smaller pieces. There are quite a few types of preserved mustard. The one that I have used is meant for cooking soups, and they are less salty so I did not bother soaking them in water beforehand.

I placed the ginger and preserved mustard into boiling water and let them simmer.

In the meantime, I sliced half of a carrot, cut a tomato into smaller pieces, and halved some straw mushrooms.

I also washed and drained the fish head.

When the preserved mustard had softened a little, I added carrots and continued cooking. Then the mushrooms were placed in the broth.

I turned the heat up and brought the broth to a boil.

And the fish was added into the broth.

I moved the fish around a little very gently to immerse them in the broth. Once the fish was cooked through (it would not take very long), I added ground white pepper and a little salt, as well as the tomatoes.

I turned the heat off as the residual heat would cook and soften the tomatoes.

You can serve this with noodles, or rice. I like eating it as it is.

This was really, really delicious.

Fish Head Soup with Preserved Mustard (Serves 2)

1/2 fish head, cut into pieces
1 piece ginger, peels and sliced
50g preserved mustard, cut into pieces
8 straw mushrooms, halved
1/2 carrot, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into chunks
1 litre water
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish

1. Place ginger and preserved mustard in water. Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.
2. Add carrots and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Add mushroom. 
3. Turn up the heat and bring broth to a boil. Add fish. Cook 3-4 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato.
4. Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.

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