Authentic Hot and Sour Soup - Sichuan Style w/ Poached Fish and Pickled Mustard Greens - (酸菜鱼)

Uploaded By : Souped Up Recipes

Today we are making Suan Cai Yu [酸菜鱼], which is Sichuan spicy poached fish with pickled mustard greens. I know it doesn’t sound appetizing but it is my all-time favorite Sichuan dish. It has a very unique spicy, sour, numbing, and thick fish broth. It is Very popular all over China but not well-known outside of China. If you are not Chinese and you know about this dish, your Chinese friend will be impressed.


- 1000 grams of white fish (500 grams of fish meat and 500 grams of fish bones)


- 500 grams of fish meat slices
- 1 tsp salt
- Some white pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine [Amazon Link:]
- 1 tsp ginger juice
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch


- 500 grams of fish bones (rub it with 1/2 tsp of salt, 3 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine, 1 tbsp of cornstarch . Then rinse it with running water several times )
- 2.5 tbsp of oil to brown the fishbone
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 pieces of scallion
- 1 inch of ginger
- 1.2 liter of hot water


- 2.5 tbsp of oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 slices of ginger
- 500 grams of Pickled Mustard Greens/ Suan Cai/ 酸菜 [Amazon Link:]
- 6-10 pieces of pickled chilies [Amazon Link:]
- the fish broth that we made
- the fish meat slices that we marinade before
- some salt to taste


- 3 tbsp of oil
- 1/3 cup of red dry chilies  [Amazon Link:]
- 1.5 tbsp of sichuan peppercorn [Amazon Link:]
- Diced garlic and scallion


- You can use any type of white fish for this recipe. Fillet the fish and slice the fish meat into 1/4 of an inch thick pieces. With a 45 degrees angle. Don’t slice it too thin or else it will fall apart while pouching. Season the fish meat with 1 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp of ginger juice, 1 egg white, some white pepper to taste and 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch. Mix everything until the cornstarch is well combined. Set it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

- Chopped the fish bones into short pieces. We will use it to make the fish broth. Rub the fish bones with a 1/2 tsp of salt, 3 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine, and 1 tbsp of cornstarch for a few minutes. Rinse everything off with running water several times until the cornstarch is gone and the water is clean. This step helps to remove some unpleasant fishy smell. Drain the water completely.

- Heat up your wok, add some oil. Be generous with the amount. Toss the wok. Throw in some garlic, ginger, scallion. Stir them until fragrant. Toss in the fish bones. Adjust them so every piece is touching the bottom of the wok. Let it fry for a few minutes. We want to brown the fish a little bit. Then pour in 1.2 liters of boiling hot water. Hot water helps to release the protein from the fish bones. Don’t use cold water or else your fish broth will come out thin and bland. Cover it and turn the heat to low. Let it simmer for 40 minutes.

- While waiting, let’s prepare the pickled mustard green (Suan Cai /酸菜), it is a type of pickled cabbage, really crunchy and delicious. You can buy it on Amazon. Just simply slice them and set it aside. I also like to use some pickled face heaven chilis. They are super spicy. Cut them open to release the flavor.

- The fish broth has been simmered for 40 minutes now. Drain it and set it aside.

- Heat up the wok again, add more oil. Then toss in some ginger and garlic. Along with the pickled face heaven chilies and the pickled mustard greens. Stir them on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Then pour the fish broth back into the wok. Bring this to a boil and let it cook for about 5 minutes so you can transfer some of the distinctive sour pickle taste from the vegetables to the broth. At this point, you can taste it. Pickled mustard green usually is very salty so you only need s a little bit of salt. But you do need to adjust it base on your own situation since the different brand of pickles has a different level of saltiness.

- Take all the pickles out. Put it in a big bowl. Keep the broth boiling. Add in the fish. It will drop down the temperature a little bit. Use the spatula to push the fish so they don’t stick together. Be gentle, you don’t want to break the fish meat. Bring this to a slight simmer, not a full boil or else you will overcook the fish. Turn off the heat and pour everything into the big bowl as well.

- Sprinkle some diced garlic and scallion on the top. Add more oil to the wok, along with some red dry chilies and some Sichuan peppercorns. Toast them until the oil is hot. I know I used a lot of oil in this dish. That is just the way how Sichuan food is. You can use less oil if you prefer. Pour the oil, chilies, Sichuan peppercorns on to the fish. It will activate all the aroma, which makes the dish smells fantastic. And you are done. Enjoy!

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