Recovering from the flu in Singapore is a difficult thing. The intense humidity makes this tropical island an idyll for the flu bug. It latches onto you, turns you into a hapless incubator and when you least expect it, bursts forth euphorically in your face … turning you into a weeping, hacking, feverish mass of aches and pain.
This dastardly affliction even resembles your relatives who show up uninvited and overstay their welcome despite pointed hints. It lingers. Annoys. Sucks the life out of you. Takes up residence and refuses to bugger off.
The first sign of exodus is therefore cause for jubilation. While I am in no form to be dancing a jig, I decided I was well enough to cook a nutritious meal yesterday. After the last few days of well-intentioned but truly unsuitable meals kindly delivered by my housemate, a home-cooked meal was definitely in order.
My refrigerator was a lamentable sight with hardly any fresh ingredients sans a packet of baby bok choy and a bunch of Chinese lettuce. I pondered my resources. Frozen … very frozen mackerel. Leftover soy marinade. A couple of tomatoes. Half an onion. I reckoned I could manage a very simple fish soup out of these unprepossessing leftovers.
Soy Sauce Fish Soup with Chinese Lettuce
1 fillet of mackerel, sliced into thick strips
3 bunches of Chinese lettuce, rinsed and coarsely shredded by hand into 3-4 inch chunks
½ onion, sliced
½ tomato, sliced into wedges
1 garlic, crushed
1 inch knob ginger, julienned
Leftover soy sauce marinade
- mine was a light soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, minced garlic & ginger, Chinese brown vinegar and ground black pepper marinade
- Mackerel bones
- ½ tbsp dried shrimp
1. Make a simple fish stock by bringing a pot of water with the bones and dried shrimp to the boil, before turning it down to a low simmer for at least an hour. Reduce this by simmering it, uncovered for another 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.
2. Marinate the fish slices in the soy sauce marinade for 15 minutes
3. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in the pot. Sauté the crushed garlic and onions till soft and fragrant. Add the ginger and fish slices and sauté quickly but gently, so as not to flake the fish, till the fish is barely opaque.
4. Add the stock and bring to the boil
5. Add the Chinese lettuce and tomato and bring to the simmer
6. Taste to see if you need to make any adjustments. I had to add 1 tsp of salt and about 4 massive dashes of ground black pepper.
7. Serve hot with steamed, white rice and some sweet chilli sauce to dip the fish slices in
The dish was extremely simple which I fancied was similar to a Chinese home-cooked meal. I deduced that it was pleasant but not outstanding. I say deduced as my taste buds are not fully returned and I seem to taste aniseed in almost everything I eat or drink. It’s all very strange.
Still, this was probably the healthiest meal I’ve had in days. It was gentle and kind to my gun shy, abused system and was all the easier to swallow and digest because of its unassuming and easy-going nature.
I will not give it a taste score due to my uncertain palate but I will proffer a 9.5/10 for health with the demerit for the frozen fish.
Oh, I also noticed that I've passed the 10,000-hits mark on this blog. Wow, thanks to all the lost and confused people who visit here to make the possible. And for those of you who deliberately come here ... my apologies! I'll try to do better when I am completely back on my feet.
Categories - In Hot Soup, Fish Tales