Tutuoyu Geng (Spanish Mackerel Soup)
The first time I saw this was in a travel show where they featured Taiwanese street food, I only had a glimpse of how it looks so I googled it and see was its made. After an exhaustive search I only got two reliable leads, one was from the Taiwan food culture website and another one from a blog called Taiwanvore, there were no recipe results but luckily it was described in detail on both sites. I never had tried this but I want to make it at home this means I will have to recreate it based on the descriptions that I got, hopefully I get it right.
From both sites it states that Tutuoyu Geng is a popular Taiwanese street food where crispy battered fish that was prepared separately is served in a thick soup which has a salty, sour and sweet flavour with hints of smoky fish. Crispy batter is not really hard to make as we can use any deep fried battered fish on this one. The challenging one though is the soup as that brings the flavour of the whole dish, it was stated that it was salty, sour and sweet so I am guessing those flavours would come from fish sauce, black vinegar and some rock sugar as those were the main condiments in the region, it also states there were hints of smoky fish so we will add some smoked fish flavour into the soup. Now for my choice of thickener I will be using tapioca starch, the same starch I use in making Maki soup, the consistency from the photo looks similar to mine.
From here it’s all guess work but honestly I made a good dish not sure if it’s the same though, hopefully someone reading this had tried the real one and will give my recipe a shot and tell us whether I recreated it correctly, nearly or not. What do you think?
- 500 g mackerel fillets, cut into strips
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1½ cup flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 egg
- ½ cup water
- freshly ground black pepper
- Season mackerel fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place ½ cup flour in a container that you can cover then place the mackerel, cover the container then shake to coat fish. Set aside.
- In a bowl combine water and egg, then set aside.
- Sift together remaining flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and freshly ground black pepper then add the water and egg mixture, slowly mix until just combined and a bit lumpy.
- Dip each mackerel piece into the batter and deep fry in a 200C pre heated deep fryer for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from fryer then set aside.
- In a pot add oil then sauté garlic and shallots.
- Add the smoked fish and stir fry until fragrant.
- Add the chicken stock, black vinegar, rock sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the Chinese cabbage then continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Dissolve tapioca starch with 1 cup of water then pour it into the pot, bring to a boil and once the soup is thick in consistency season it with freshly ground black pepper and salt (if needed).
- Turn heat off then place in soup bowls together with fried fish and chopped spring onions.