Tuesday 15 September 2015

XO Sliced Fish Soup with Rice Noodle (XO鱼片米粉汤)

Singaporeans love love love Fish Soup 鱼片汤! You would see the longest queue for this local delight in any food centers. The only queue that comes close is probably from the Yong Tau Foo stall. 

I do not remember seeing the fried fish version when I was a child. This dish has evolved over the years. In fact, you see more people ordering the fried fish version nowadays. I , however, prefer the old school blanched fish slices.

Here it goes....my home-cooked version of XO Sliced Fish Soup with Rice Noodle (XO鱼片米粉汤).

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Ingredients (enough for 2 pax) :

  • 200 gm of snakehead fish meat 生鱼 (min. 100 gm per pax)
  • 100 gm dried rice noodle (approx. 50 gm per pax)(soak in water till softened)
  • 1 cup green vegetables
  • 2 tomatoes (cut to wedges)
  • 1 tbsp deep fried onions (optional)(for garnishing and flavouring)
  • 2 pcs chilli padi (for garnishing and flavoring)
  • 1.5 cup ikan bilis/anchovies (rinsed and drained)(for soup)
  • 1 cup soy beans (soaked)(for soup)
  • 8 slices of ginger (thinly sliced)(for soup)
  • 1/2 ikan bilis/anchovies stock cube (for soup)
  • 1-2 tsp (per pax) evaporated milk (adjust in accordance to your preference)(for soup)
  • 2 tbsp (per pax) XO liquor or replace with mirin (adjust in accordance to your preference)(for soup)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (for soup)
  • 1.5 litre water to boil (for soup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to pre-marinate fish)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (to pre-marinate fish)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (to pre-marinate fish)

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip : Traditional Fish Soup requires us to brew soup using fish heads and bones. Do include the fish heads and bones if you purchase whole fish. Otherwise, the soup base can be done in family style by using ikan bills and stock cube.

Method :

Cut snakehead fish into thin slices. Slice the meat like 'butterflies'. This way, the fish slices would look larger and more presentable. Pre-marinate with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp sesame oil for 30 minutes. 
Heat cooking oil in soup pot and add ginger slices to saute. 
Add ikan bilis/anchovies when ginger slices start to turn light brown. Saute ikan bilis/anchovies till they start turning golden brown. If you do not go through this saute process, the soup would not be tasty.
Pour 1.5 liter water into soup pot and add soy beans and 1/2 pc ikan bilis/anchovies stock cube. Cover lid and let soup/water boil at medium-high heat. Once soup/water hits boiling point, turn to low-medium heat. Continue to boil for another 30 minutes.
When soup is ready, boil water in another pot. Blanch green vegetables and tomatoes and set aside. Fold in rice noodle and boil till soft.
Meanwhile, blanch fish slices in the soup pot till cooked. Set fish slices aside when ready. Do not overcook the fish. 
Transfer rice noodle to serving bowl when cooked. Use a ladle to top up ikan bilis/fish soup to the bowl. Add 1-2 tsp evaporated milk (subject to your preference) and 2 tbsp XO liquor (adjust in accordance to your preference). You may replace with mirin instead. Give the soup a good stir in the bowl.
Assemble green vegetables, tomatoes, fish slices, fried onions and chill padi on top of soup and rice noodle. Add a few drops of sesame oil to make it more aromatic.
Another bowl of goodness....milky soup with XO....yet very homely.


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