Nyonya Fish Maw Soup

Fish maw soup (鱼漂汤) is a homely dish. I have been taking regular short road trips to Malacca (view food pics on my instagram) this year and this soup is a must-order for me at the Peranakan (Nyonya) eateries there.

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This recipe has everyday ingredients such as cabbage, fish balls, minced pork and dried mushrooms. At home, we love to enjoy this as a one-dish soup with multi-grain rice.

Nyonya Fish Maw Soup Recipe

Come special occasions such as Chinese New Year next month, you can “upgrade” from normal fish maw to threadfin fish maw, and also add baby abalones to the soup (pic above). It’s also a great recipe for clearing leftover steamboat ingredients. No matter how simple or grand this soup turn out to be, there is always a homely vibe to it. And for me, I love the simple version the most!

Fish Maw Soup Recipe

Nyonya Fish Maw Soup Recipe

Cooking time varies for different types of fish maw so adjust accordingly. For example, threadfin fish maw generally require about 15-20 minutes while regular ones may take about 30-45 minutes. Cook the fish maw until soft but not mushy.


  • 100 grams minced pork (chicken)
  • 2 liters chicken stock see cooking tip below for home-made stock recipe
  • 25 grams fried fish maw soak in hot water until softened, cut to bite-sized pieces
  • 8 dried Japanese mushrooms soak caps in hot water until softened, squeeze out excess water
  • half carrot peeled & sliced thinly (optional: cut to flower shapes)
  • half head Chinese round cabbage cut to bite-sized lengths
  • 10 fish balls
  • half can baby abalone optional, may add abalone stock to the soup

(A) Marinade

  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 3 dashes white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil



  1. Marinade minced pork with (A) for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. Use a spoon to roughly shape them into small balls.
  2. In a large soup pot, bring chicken stock to boil. Add fish maw, mushrooms and carrots. Simmer for 15 minutes, add cabbage and continue simmer for another 10 minutes.
  3. Add fish balls, marinated meat balls and baby abalone. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the fish balls float to the surface.
  4. Ladle soup to serving bowls and top with fried shallots and spring onions.

Cooking Tip

To make home-made stock, simmer the following in a large pot for at least an hour: 3 litres water, 500 grams pork bones, 1 to 2 chicken carcass bone, 3 dried scallops and a small handful of rinsed ikan bilis placed in a soup stock pouch