Tomato, chilli and coriander fish soup

Tomato, chilli and coriander fish soup

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

This dish was inspired by one we ate in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Fresh, light flavours predominate there, with herbs such as mint, dill and coriander used widely, and influences from local ethnic groups as well as the neighbouring nations of Laos and Vietnam making themselves heard. All these make for a wildly different culinary proposition to ‘mainstream’ Chinese fare.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons ginger, finely shredded
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
4 small red chillies, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon sugar
60ml clear rice vinegar, or to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce, or to taste
850g firm ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
6 x 150g salmon cutlets
3 spring onions, cut into 1 cm pieces
2 bunches coriander, leaves picked
Strained chilli oil, to serve (optional)

Fish and tomato stock

Quantity Ingredient
1.2kg very ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1.2kg white fish bones
4 spring onions, chopped


  1. To make the stock, put all the ingredients in a saucepan and add 2 litres water, or enough to just cover. Bring slowly to a simmer, then simmer gently over a low heat for 1 hour, skimming off any impurities as they rise to the surface. Strain well without pressing on the solids — the stock should be clear. Let the stock settle for 30 minutes, then pour it into a bowl, discarding any cloudy solids at the bottom of the stock.
  2. Combine the stock, ginger, garlic, chillies, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, adding extra vinegar or soy sauce to taste. Add the tomatoes and salmon and cook over a low heat for 6 minutes — the liquid should be barely murmuring.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside for 3–4 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through (the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the cutlets). Add the spring onions and coriander and stand until the coriander has wilted. Divide the soup and salmon among six large bowls. Serve with chilli oil, if using.
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