Saw this recipe in a TV programme featuring Hokkien Soup. I was never interested in cooking eel cos’ the fish couldn’t be eaten as it has very fine bone which I dislike.
But since many ladies at the market told me this kind of fish is good for cooking soup, I gave it a try. Must say I have no regrets cooking it cos’ the soup is really tasty and has a certain natural sweetness from the fish and salty taste from the chai por.
Moreover, I was happy that I managed to buy the ‘old’ chai por [see photo on how the old chai por looks like] and the fried tofu when I went back to my mother in-law’s place at Air Itam market, Penang. Not all wet markets have these 2 ingredients.
Sea eel is quite commonly sold in most wet markets, so it isn’t a problem to get a slab.
1 small slab of sea eel [mua hoo] – keep whole
3-4 slices of the Old Chai Por – soaked for 20-30 minutes
1 small white carrot - peeled and cut chunks
2-3 pieces fried tofu – cut each into 3 pieces
A few slices of ginger
½ tsp peppercorns – lightly crushed
- Boil water with ginger and peppercorns in a deep saucepan until fragrant.
- Pour water into a soup pot or claypot, discard the ginger and peppercorns.
- Add in the chai por and carrots. Boil for several minutes, taste soup and more water if it is too salty. Add in the sea eel and bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer for 5-10 minutes before adding the tofu.
- Bring to boil and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or reheat before serving later. Suggest not to eat the sea eel.