Faux Shark Fins Soup
As someone born in the 1980s, I grew up with the notion that a wedding banquet would never be complete without sharks fin soup. Personally, I’ve never really liked the taste since (to me) it tasted kind of like warm glue thanks to the high starch content.
However, my family members, especially my grandmother, absolutely adored it. When shark awareness came in, that one dish every wedding guest look forward to started getting replaced by things like Hot & Sour Soup, or Egg Drop Corn Soup etc. Then, my grandmother’s 80th birthday came and I decided to make Faux Sharks Fin Soup to make her happy.
The theory is simple. Sharks fin tasted of nothing, seriously, it’s just basically firm glass noodles that will just not melt away no matter how long you boiled it. I replaced it with chapjae, cut into 3 inch pieces. Basically I just chuck my faux fins in dry just before serving since chapjae will soften on its own even in cold water. Here’s the recipe for all you patient readers!
Amount: Serves 6 – 8
|Chinese Wine||2 tbls|
|Potato Starch||1/2 Cup|
|Soy Sauce||To colour|
|Chapjae||As you like|
- Split the chicken into bones, thigh meat and breast meat
- Rinse the crab meat in cold water and sift out any shell you might find
- Cut a handful of chapjae into 3 inch pieces
Tip 1 : If you’re using chicken parts, get two chicken breasts, and half a kg of chicken wings or chicken carcass. Chicken feet is good too.
Tip 2 : If you use live crabs, steamed them alive before cleaning and taking out the meat, save the crab juice for the soup
- Boil the chicken bones (or carcass or wings) in a pot with at least 2.5 litres of water. Boil for at least a couple of hours
Tip 3 : You may add onions, carrots or Chinese herbs at this point
- After two hours of boiling, place the thigh and breast meat into the soup and cook for a further 15 minutes. It’s ok if the meat is slightly under done
- Immediately remove the meat once 15 is up, and leave it to cool before shredding it.
- Pour the soup into a different pot, use a sieve to remove all the bones, herbs etc. We want a nice clear soup with no impurities
- Pour in half of the crab into the clear soup as well as the Chinese wine (you may use Shaoxing wine)
- Adjust the colour with soy sauce
- Adjust the flavour with salt
- Once the soup is to your taste, add potato starch to adjust the texture
Tip 4 : Add water to the starch powder before pouring it into the soup to prevent lumps Tip 2: The soup should be slightly slippery and actually sparkle when you pour it with your ladle
- Beat 4 eggs lightly in a bowl
- Swirl the soup with your ladle until you see a whirlpool, pour the egg in close to the edge of the pot as you continuously stir the soup
Tip 5 : Keeping the soup near boiling hot will make very nice egg curds
- Chuck in the shredded chicken as well as the rest of the crab meat.
- Do one last taste test
- Just before serving, stir in the dry chapjae into the soup
Tip 6 : You may use as much or as little chapjae as you like
And there you have it, faux sharks fin soup! Especially loved by the older generation Chinese. This recipe harms no sharks and will make your Chinese grandparents happy!
Tip 7 : You may add things like sliced shiitake mushrooms, goji berries etc to vary the colour and texture of the soup.
Have fun cooking and eating!
Shark fin is mentioned in Super Chef Reborn, Chapter 58; and The Feast, Chapter 103.