Fish Porridge

This is a recipe for Singapore-style fish soup (鱼粥). I used toman fish this time as I like to feature different fish in various recipes. It is also inexpensive and easy to cook. You can use other fish such as batang (Spanish mackeral), red grouper, pomfret and threadfin.

See Also:

Fish Porridge Recipe
The local style of fish porridge is adding cooked white rice to the soup, not literally making porridge on the stove. Alternative to adding the rice directly to the fish soup, you can serve a bowl of fish soup with a side bowl of rice, or add noodles (glass noodles, rice vermicelli or ee-fu noodles) to make it a one-dish meal.

Step-by-Step Photos

Toman Fish Slices
I’m using toman fish here. The local supermarket (NTUC) always sells toman fish already sliced and skinless so that’s a bonus for me. Cut the fish to uniform thin slices.

Fish Porridge Recipe
Prepare the vegetables (bittergourd, lettuce & tomato) and tofu.

Fish Porridge Recipe
These are the ingredients for the fish soup stock: ikan bilis, dried shrimps, dried fish sole & ginger.

Fish Porridge Recipe

For convenience, I place the fish stock ingredients in disposable soup pouches. I also added one sour plum (the type used for steaming fish). Pictured above is the fish stock after 15 minutes of simmering. Discard pouches. Add more water and season to taste if needed. Sometimes I prepare the fish stock one day in advance (keep chilled in the fridge overnight, freezer if longer) so that I can cook the fish soup quickly on a weekday after work. Tip: If busy, use instant fish stock cube with water as a short-cut.

Fish Porridge Recipe
Bring fish stock to a boil, then add vegetables and tofu for 30 seconds, followed by fish slices. Everything cooks really fast here, so don’t overcook.

Fish Porridge Recipe
In the serving bowl, add dong cai (冬菜) …

Fish Porridge Recipe
… and cooked white rice.

Fish Porridge Recipe
Ladle hot soup over the rice, add lettuce and garnish. Enjoy!~

Fish Soup Recipe

If you have no time to prepare the fish stock from scratch in step 2, you can use instant fish stock cube with water as a short-cut.

Besides serving as fish porridge, you can also serve a bowl of fish soup with rice at the side, or add noodles (glass noodles, rice vermicelli or ee-fu noodles) to enjoy as a one-dish meal.

Check out the ingredients and step-by-step photos on the previous page.


  • 150-200 grams toman fish fillet* bones & scales removed then sliced thinly diagonally
  • 1 serving steamed white rice per bowl
  • 1 tsp “dong cai” (冬菜) rinsed; per bowl

* Besides toman (aka snakehead 生魚), you can use other fish such as red grouper, batang, pomfret and threadfin.

(A) Vegetables & Tofu

  • 6-8 leaves Chinese lettuce or coral lettuce (生菜)
  • small section of bitter gourd halved lengthwise, spoon out the white spongy bits, then slice the bittergourd flesh diagonally & as thinly as possible
  • 1 tomato cut to 6 wedges
  • 50 grams tofu cubed

(B) Fish soup stock

  • 1 litre water
  • 50 grams ikan bilis de-gutted and rinsed 1-2 times
  • 50 grams dried shrimps
  • 20 grams dried fish sole (扁鱼干)
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 1 sour plum optional

(C) Serving Suggestions (Garnish)

  • small pieces of dried seaweed
  • chopped coriander and/or spring onions
  • white pepper powder
  • 1 saucer of cut red chilli with “taucheo” (豆酱; fermented bean paste) per bowl
  • fried shallot or fried garlic oil

Optional Tools


  1. Prepare fish and vegetables. Remove any remnant bone and fish scales, if any. Cut the fish diagonally to uniform thin slices. Chill in fridge until ready to use. Prepare the vegetables and tofu at (A).
  2. Make fish soup stock. Place the ikan bilis, dried shrimps and fish sole in disposable soup pouches for convenience. Place the soup pouches, water, ginger and sour plum in a large soup pot. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard soup pouches. Note: If you did not use soup pouches, run the soup through a sieve before using. Season to taste. If you need more soup, add more water and seasonings (such as salt or soy sauce) accordingly.
  3. Cook fish soup. To the pot of fish soup stock, add bittergourd, tomato and tofu. Cook for 30 seconds, then add fish. Boil until the fish is just cooked, about 1 minute.
  4. Serve fish porridge. Add cooked rice and dong cai to serving bowls. Distribute and ladle the fish soup. Add green lettuce and garnish with (C).  Serve with a side saucer of cut chilli.