I always prefer Thai-Style Shark Fin Soup as compare to our Chinese-Style ones. Thai-Style ones are more complex in flavour.. Very Umami-rich!
For the benefit of those who do not eat shark fin, you can omit the shark fin and just add fish maw and abalone (optional).
How to Choose Fish Maw: One of my foodie friend who used to import Dried Seafood Items told me that the thicker the fish maw, the more gelatinized texture it is.
I bought this fish maw from ntuc – the XO Fish Maw
I do not understand why is it XO fish maw as I do not taste any XO component in it but it is very thick when uncooked and it have the gelatinized texture that I like .
How to prepare shark fin:
I’m not an expert in preparing shark fin but I have done some research online and checking with people who sell shark fin.
Basically there are 3 types of shark fins (3 ways of preparing):
1. The Frozen Ones
These are so easiest. Just defrost it and cook for 10 mins or until your desired texture with the soup Base
2. Smaller Dried ones (翅饼)
Soak for 30 mins or until soften (depending on the size of the shark fins) and cook with the soup Base for 10 mins or until your desired texture (check for instructions at the back of the packaging, if any
3. The very big dried ones (排翅)
Picture from http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/x3690e/x3690e1e.htm
These fins require alot of preparation and it’s best to seek advice from the seller or you can follow the instructions from this link http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/sharks-fin-preparation
This soup base will be a perfect soup base for Pen Cai （盆菜）. Just add the ingredients you like and double or triple or even quadruple the recipe. This will sure be a winner dish!
- 1 litre of water
- 20g Dried Mushroom (About 5 medium Pieces) - washed
- 4 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine
- 140g Abalone - 1 can (optional)
- 40g Fish Maw (Soaked in Water until soften) - or more
- Shark Fin (Optional)
- 2 Tablespoon Corn Flour
- 2 Tablespoon Water
- 1 Sprig of Chinese Parsley (break into smaller pieces)
- 20g Beansprout (Clean, roots and Seed remove)
- In a deep stockpot, boil 1 litre of water over medium heat
- Add in washed dried mushroom and boil for 5 minutes
- Reduce to medium low heat and low boil for another 30 minutes
- Add in all the seasonings and fish maw (and shark fin, if using).
- Continue to cook for another 10 or until the desired texture for the fish maw
- *canned abalones can be eaten right from the can. Just add in the soup few minutes before the soup is ready to heat it up
- In a separate small bowl, mix the corn flour and water together
- Slowly drizzle the flour mixture into the boiling soup and stir while adding the flour mixture
- Transfer the soup into serving bowls and garnish with parsley and beansprout
- *Blanch the beansprout in a separate pot of boiling water if you do not like the taste of raw beansprout.