Chinese-Style Fish Soup

Chinese fish soups are simple affairs that rely on using the freshest possible fish, quickly cooked in a way that enhances its taste.

Easily made in the wok, this soup is also versatile: you can supplement the fish and the broth with a wide variety of complementary ingredients and seasonings. Adding left-overs can turn this soup into a substantial one-dish meal. I add a bit of chilli oil and a touch of vinegar to give the soup real zest.


  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh, firm white fish fillets, such as cod, sea bass or halibut
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock or fish stock
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded fresh root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil
  • 2 teaspoons black or red rice vinegar

For the Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


Remove the skin from the fish fillets and then cut them into small pieces, about 2.5 cm (1 in) square. Combine the fish, egg white, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well. Refrigerate, this for at least 20 minutes.

Pour the stock into a wok and bring it to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, ginger and spring onions and simmer for 30 seconds. Then add the fish and stir gently for 1 minute. As soon as the fish turns white, immediately turn off the heat. Add the chilli oil and vinegar. Ladle the soup into individual bowls or a soup tureen, garnish with the fresh coriander and serve immediately.