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Soups and Congees: Fujianese and Other

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Soups and Congees

Fall Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(3) pages: 32 to 36

Soups are what those from the Fujian Province love most during and/or at all meal times. For those who are Fujianese, no meal is considered a meal without two or more soups, served at any time during a meal or when enjoying a snack.

This magazine has published many recipes for many soups from the Fujian Province though not always so designated in an article. Many soup recipes in the last few issues elicited positive comments and considerable appreciation. With that in mind, the following recipes from our files are shared for your pleasure.

Folks in Fujian love soups made with fermented rice, so feel free to add some to any of these recipes. For those that prefer their foods piquant, any one of them can be enhanced with a favorite hot sauce. Those suggestions are valuable for the nine soups in Volume 24(1) which had a classic mala pot popular for Sichuan soups on its cover and nine different soups within. The large number of letters of appreciation is why we provide eight other soups that follow. Enjoy them all!

Amaranth and Doufu Soup

½ pound soft doufu, cubed
4 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked for one hour, stems discarded, caps slivered
5 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, peeled and slivered
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups amaranth leaves, half chopped, half cut in half
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 cup cold water


1. In a large pot, add the cubes of doufu, mushrooms, water chestnuts, salt, and the chicken broth and the carrot and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.
2. Now add the amaranth leaves and the cornstarch mixture, raise the temperature to the boil, and stir for two minutes, then serve.

Old Cucumber Soup

2 cups ground or finely minced beef
2 shallots peeled and minced
½ Tablespoon ground white pepper
1 Tablespoon Shao Xing wine
½ teaspoon salt
1 old cucumber, peeled, seeded, ,and sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or water chestnut powder
3 cubes chicken bouillon
2 Tablespoons coriander, minced
1 Tablespoon sesame oil


1. Mix beef with the minced shallots, ground white pepper, wine, and salt, and dust one side of every cucumber slice with the cornstarch or water chestnut powder, then put one teaspoon of this between every two cucumber slices so dusted, and press them together.
2. Put these into a pot with eight cups of water with the bouillon cubes and simmer for twenty minutes, then add the coriander and sesame oil, and serve.

Fish Balls With Mushrooms

1 pound fish fillets, skinned with bones removed, then minced
2 Tablespoons lard softened
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 egg yolks
8 cups chicken or fish stock
2 slices fresh ginger, cut into very thin sticks
3 large dried mushrooms, soaked for an hour, stems removed and discarded, then cut into thin slices, and each slice cut into half-inch long pieces
4 ounces canned bamboo shoots, cut into thin sticks each cut half-inch long
3 Tablespoons fresh soy sprouts, their tails removed
1 scallion, cut in half the long way, then into half-inch lengths


1. Mix fish with the lard, then add the cornstarch, salt and rice wine, and mix well before adding in the egg yolks. Shape this mixture into one-inch balls and set them aside.
2. Bring stock to a simmer, add ginger, mushroom and bamboo shoot pieces, then carefully add the fish balls and soy sprouts, and simmer for ten minutes.
3. Pour into one large pre-heated soup tureen or preheated individual soup bowls, sprinkle scallion pieces on top, and serve.

Sizzling Shrimp Soup

1 cup very small shrimp
1 egg white
2 teaspoons water chestnut flower
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken broth
3 canned water chestnuts, minced
3 Tablespoons frozen green peas, defrosted
2 teaspoon bamboo shoots, minced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with same amount of cool water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 rice cake, broken into small pieces


1. Put fish pieces, sea cucumber pieces and stock into an eight-quart pot. Bring this to a simmer, then add the blanched string bean and the asparagus pieces and stir well.
2. Next, add the ground pepper, beaten egg, salt, and wine, and simmer stirring for two minutes. Then add the sesame oil, and serve.

Corn and Crab Soup

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 slices fresh ginger, minced fine
5 cups chicken broth
4 medium Chinese black mushrooms, soaked until soft in two cups of warm water, stems discarded and the mushrooms minced, soaking water added to the broth
2 cups canned creamed corn
½ cup fresh crab meat, coarsely minced
½ teaspoon ground back pepper
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with the same amount arrowroot flour and one quarter cup cool water
2 Tablespoons sesame oil


1. Heat a wok, add the vegetable oil, then the ginger and stir before adding the broth/mushroom water and bring to a simmer.
2. Now add the mushrooms pieces and the cream corn and when thoroughly heated add the crab meat, ground pepper, and the cornstarch/arrowroot mixture and bring to the boil. In one minute or when thickened, add the sesame oil and serve.

Sea Cucumber Soupy Stew

1 small white fish, skin and bones removed, then cut into one-inch pieces
1 small soaked sea cucumber, diced, then simmered until soft
5 cups chicken stock
3 Tablespoons string beans, cut into thin slices and blanched
3 asparagus, cut into thin rounds, and blanched
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 large egg, beaten well
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 Tablespoon sesame oil


1. Put fish pieces, sea cucumber pieces and stock into an eight-quart pot. Bring this to a simmer, then add the blanched string bean and the asparagus pieces and stir well.
2. Next, add the ground pepper, beaten egg, salt, and wine, and simmer stirring for two minutes. Then add the sesame oil, and serve.

Spare Rib Soup

1 pound spare ribs, blanched in boiling water, then rinsed and drained
3 slices fresh ginger, slivered
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
10 pitted red dates, each cut into four pieces
5 cups chicken stock
20 goji berries


1. In a soup pot, bring the ginger, dates, rice wine, and the drained spare ribs to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for two hours.
2, Remove the ribs and cut meat into half-inch pieces and return them to the soup.
3. Now add the goji berries and simmer another ten minutes, then serve. Discard the bones or use in Mung Bean Congee recipe on page 35.

Mung Bean Congee

bones from spare ribs in the Spare Rib Soup
several beef bones
1 chicken carcass
1 ounce mung bean noodles, soaked until soft, then cut into one-inch pieces
1 cup cooked glutinous rice
2 slices fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons fermented rice
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups shredded Napa or another cabbage
2 scallions, shredded


1. Boil the bones in three quarts of water in a large pot for one hour, then remove them with a slotted spoon.
2. Strain the liquid and cut meat into half-inch pieces; discard the bones, and return both to the pot.
3. Add mung bean pieces and the glutinous rice and the fermented rice. Stir in the ginger and simmer this for another hour.
3. Then add the rice wine and the bouillon cubes and simmer for an additional half an hour.
4. Next add the cabbage and simmer five minutes, then sprinkle with the scallion pieces and serve in pre-heated individual soup bowls.

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