Fish (Seabass) Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms, 鱼汤

This is a continuation of my fish post yesterday. Like many of you, I do not know fish very well. And to cook a good (non-fishy) fish soup is not as straightforward. So when the fish-monger told me that I could use Seabass to cook soup, I had to trust her. 50%.

I took the seabass home, adapted this fish soup recipe slightly and attempted to make it again. This time, I did not use Asian pear or gogiberries. I added soft tofu and buma shimeiji mushrooms to the soup while braising (about 10 minutes before cooking completes). Why? Cos' I had the same thought of not eating the fish but just drink the soup - so I wanted more nutrition (and substance). It turned out really well!

You know when you braise (simmer at low-heat) a pre-fried fish long enough, the liquid (soup) gradually changes color: from clear to milky (shown above). All the fish "essence" from the fish oils, fish bones, fish proteins are all in the SOUP! More pictures and tips...

TIPS to get rid of the fishy smell:
(1) Ask the fishmonger to remove the guts of the fish and clean it for you. They will not do a proper job, most likely.
(2) At home, you have to clean it again. Clean the fish under slow running tap water, rub it generously with salt, especially the "stomach" area of the fish, where the "guts" were.
(3) After rinsing away the salt used to clean in Step (2), slightly pat the fish dry with kitchen paper towels; then pinch of salt and white pepper to season the fish on both sides
(4) Pan-fry the fish with green onions and ginger. While pan-frying the fish, you do not have to flip the fish so often (flipping too much causes the fish-skin to tear off easily). Just sufficiently pan-fry one-side, then turn to the other side.
(5) Towards the end of pan-frying, add in cooking wine from the sides of the hot wok or pan, to sizzle out more aroma and getting rid more fishy smell at the same time.
(6) Retain the green onions (should have caramelised also) and ginger for the braising
(7) Add in more thinly sliced fresh ginger into the soup while braising.
(8) Some salt and white pepper to taste, towards end of cooking; and drizzles of cooking wine if you prefer.

Still the nutritious and delicious soup that I enjoy very much. However, this is not quick cooking cos' of all the "fishy" business (Steps 1-8 above). As a result, I don't cook this dish very often.

Like some of you knew, yellow croaker fish might be a better fish choice.So the next time I am cooking this, might be when I find yellow croacker fish again.

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