Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shark's Fin Soup ?

Shark's fin soup dates back to China's Ming Dynasty. The popularity of shark fin soup rose in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as standards of living began to improve. The delicacy was coveted by emperors because it was rare, delicious, and required elaborate preparation. Holding both culinary and symbolic significance, the dish is popular at important occasions such as weddings, banquets, and important business deals. It symbolizes wealth, power, prestige and honor. This staple of gourmet Chinese cuisine is a show of respect, honor, and appreciation to the guests. (Wikipedia)

I have always look forward to savoring Shark's fin soup at a wedding banquet. A bowl of superior shark's fin soup can cost USD100 and upwards in an upscale Hong Kong restaurant. There is so much talk/news in cruelty and extinction to sharks in the past few years.  I hope this recipe will help us all each play our part to preserve wildlife and the environment.

This soup is very close to the original shark's fin soup both in taste and in texture and another bonus is that it is absolutely healthy!  Squash is abundant and cheap at this time of the year and I hope you will give this soup a try.  You will find it simply delicious and very affordable!

I want to take the opportunity to thank my wonderful friends (Kim and Dale Johnson) for blessing me with their homegrown spaghetti squash and a couple of their self-caught fresh sea bass of which I not only enjoyed the fresh fish but use the left over fish bones/remnants to make a wonderful rich fish broth that became the base stock for this soup.  These wonderful ingredients has helped inspire me to create this soup.


5 quarts or 20 cups fish or chicken broth
1 '3 pound' Spaghetti Squash
2 cups crab meat (optional)
3 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 4 Tbs. water
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 tsp. white pepper
3-4 Tbs. Fish Sauce
3-4 Tbs. Chinkiang Vinegar or (Balsamic Vinegar)

With a heavy knife/cleaver split squash into 2 halves.  Microwave on high for about 15-20 minutes or until the flesh is tender and you can scoop it out easily.  You can also roast the squash in the oven, rind side up at 375F for about 30-40 minutes.

When squash is cooked, remove the seeds and pulp with a fork.  Use fork to rake  out the 'spaghetti-like' stringy flesh (all the way to the rind).  Set it aside on a plate.

Bring broth to a boil and stir in squash.  Bring broth back to a boil.  

Add in cornstarch mixture and stir well until soup is thickened.  Add in crab meat.

Season soup with fish sauce, white pepper and Chinkiang vinegar.  Lower heat to simmer and add in beaten egg, stirring gently.  

Remove soup from heat and serve hot. Drizzle more vinegar in soup before serving and a touch of liquor if so desire.