Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fish & Mushroom Noodle Soup

"Health is Wealth". If you were a kid growing up in India, you must have heard the statement mentioned atleast once if not numerous times. It does make a lot of sense in the current political scenario as well. Daschle, the HHS (Health and Human Services) is a walking example of this saying or shall we say more appropriately chauffeur driven example? If you are a very rich (monetarily) and of poor health obviously the wealth is of no use. Yes? Poor joke. perhaps, but health(care) did make him wealthy and too much got him in trouble just like too much food even good food often makes people sick.


Michael Pollan in, In Defense of Food quotes Joan Gussow a strong proponent of unprocessed food as saying in a speech to "just eat food" and how items masquerading as food have taken over our grocery shelves. It is very important and makes lot of sense to follow the advice "Don't eat anything your grandmother would not recogonize". If this test is applied to food available in the grocery stores today, a whopping 80-90% would fail. Flavored yogurt and bread which used to be a regular in my cart is not there anymore, they woefully fail the grandmother test. I am not sure why I had been graviating towards buying flavored yogurt when homemade yogurt with a dash of sugar, fruits or honey is far more fresh and flavorful than the packaged stuff. If you have not read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan please do, it will open your eyes to food matters real quick.

This soup is something that my grandmother probably would not recogonize perhaps, but there is no preprocessed stuff - which is in essence what the grandmother test is all about.

Recipe Source: Taste of the East - Deh-Ta Hsiung, Rafi Fernadez, Steven Wheeler

Fish and Mushroom Soup
1. 3 filets of tilapia (or any white fish) - replace with tofu for a vegeterian version
2. 4 caps of portabella mushrooms cut into thin strips
3. 1/8 package of rice noodles
4. 2 1/2 cups of low-fat, low sodium chicken stock
5. 2 tsp corn starch
6. 2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used maggi)
7. 1 egg white
8. 1 fistful fresh coriander leaves
9. 2-3 tsp soy sauce
10. 1 tsp sambhar powder (or chili powder or pepper powder)
11. 1/2 tsp oil

1. Cut the fish/tofu into small cubes and toss with the corn starch, chili garlic sauce and the egg white and let it sit for 20 minutes
2. Cook the rice noodles according to the packaged instructions
3. Heat a wide mouthed pan (or pressure cooker) and heat the oil and toss in the mushrooms and saute, add the sambhar powder and a bit of salt and let it cook.
4. Now add the chicken stock and bring it to a rolling boil
5. Add the fish pieces and poach them for a minute or two, followed by the cooked noodles, let it cook for a minute more
6. Add the soy sauce and coriander leaves and turn off the heat.


  1. Good to see fish dish here, Indo. I am leaning towards Shrimps now after we tried the breaded Shrimps on game day! :D

    Soup looks yum. I have seen Tilapia, got to buy one day and try. We all still trying very hard to get used to the Seafood!

    I love Dannon plain Yogurt. Yogurt can be easily done at home but I don't bother, too lazy? ;D

  2. What a great post ISG -- all the more reason to expand the garden :)

    The recipe is so interesting with sambhar pwd. and soy sauce... and your photos! Makes me wish for a taste now. Really lovely :)

  3. missed a couple of your posts...the garlic pickle looks yummmmeee! Oh and the soup..waah!

  4. Yeah so very matter wht fancy names i keep hearing in blogosphere,i am not always tempted to get them here in mumbai.Sometimes i may rant about my place being just an old fashioned one with just local stuff available(so much that even brown bread is a thing to hunt around) still i feel blessed that we dont have to eat processed /tinned/canned food day in and day out.No frozen foods,absolutely no frozen nonveg.Though in some recently opened malls ,there lies the packets of frozen parathas etc,i still hesitate to buy them.And flavored yogurt ?just tasted it once in my life and i am glad ,that my son made a face at first slurp only,so that made me stick to simple plain home made curd
    The soup sounds innovative-ly good enough for a winter evening :-)

  5. That book is in my to-read list, I loved Pollan's other book. And I am really loving this soup idea... I've never made any fish soup.

  6. Soup looks so delicious. Excelrnt for this weather.

  7. Ver informative... I have`nt read the book, will do it some day.

    I avoid canned foods and try to use homemade as much as possible. The foods available in the grocery stores today,even my mother would not recognise them.
    I was surprised to see many frozen foods in India and more surprising only the younger generation buying.
    I am worried if we are putting the information we have over the net to a complete waste.

  8. Never tried any fish soup before, except shrimp of course. This sounds good.

    "but health(care) did make him wealthy " :-)

    I too buy some processed stuff like yogurt smoothies, chicken sausage, ch. nuggets etc. -- makes life easy though I agree with you totally.

  9. That's a really nice twist with the sambar powder! Thanks for posting - and love your posts which make me think :)


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