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Good Fortune Fish Chowder

1/2 pound firm white fish fillets -- thinly sliced (such as snapper, sea bass or halibut)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt


For the Chowder:
4 dried black mushrooms
4 cups chicken or fish stock (or canned chicken broth)
1/3 cup Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
3 slices peeled ginger - (quarter size) -- cut thin strips
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
1/2 package silken tofu - (14-oz pkg) -- drained, and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch -- dissolved in
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


Stir the cornstarch and salt together in a small bowl. Toss the sliced fish fillets gently in the marinade until coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.


For the Chowder: Pour enough warm water over the mushrooms in a medium bowl to cover them completely. Let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Discard the stems and slice the caps thinly.


Bring the stock, vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, salt, pepper and sliced mushrooms to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the fish and stir gently to separate the slices. Adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering and simmer until the fish is opaque, about 2 minutes.


Carefully slide the tofu into the pan and cook until heated through. Increase the heat, stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the soup boils and thickens, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and sprinkle the chopped cilantro over each.


This recipe yields 4 servings.


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