hairy gourd fish head soup

there are different varieties of winter melon, and they come in all sorts of sizes. the ones we used in this recipe are the small ones, called 節瓜. they are fuzzy, but without the white dust on the outside that are found with the big varieties. when it comes to fish soup, you gotta use fish heads for maximum flavor. it’s filled with all that gooey collagenous protein which helps enrich the stock. if you can’t get a hold of fish heads, then go with the bones. to add an extra level of richness, we threw in a salted duck egg in the soup.

you want the fish soup to be milky white. to get that consistency, you need to lightly brown the fish and add boiling hot water to the pot, not cold water!

winter melon 節瓜 2 small
fish head 1 large
ginger 10 thin slices
salted duck egg 1
oil 1 tbsp
salt 1 tsp
water 1 liter

  • in a separate pot or tea kettle, boil 1 liter of water
  • wash and cut the winter melon into 1/4 inch slices, set aside
  • wash and chop the fish head into several pieces (we asked our fishmonger to do this)
  • in a pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, ginger, and fish head pieces
  • lightly brown the fish head for a few min
  • pour the liter of boiling hot water into the pot of fish head
  • turn heat to low and simmer with a lid on for 30 min
  • after 30 min, add the salt, salted duck egg, and the winter melon
  • turn heat to medium and cook for another 15 min
  • the winter melon is done when it turns from ivory white to semi-translucent, salt to taste
small winter melon, chopped up fish head, and ginger

small winter melon, chopped up fish head, and ginger

brown the fish head

lightly brown the fish head

notice the milky color of the water, that's what you want! add the salted duck egg and winter melon

notice the milky color of the stock, that’s what you want! add the salted duck egg and winter melon

a super tasty soup!

a super tasty savory soup!

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