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The Hirshon Guizhou Sour Tomato Soup with Fish - 酸汤鱼

The Hirshon Guizhou Sour Tomato Soup with Fish – 酸汤鱼

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  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • Fermented Tomato Base:
  • 5 kg of fresh wild tomatoes (which can be replaced by cultivated cherry tomatoes when the wild ones are not available), diced and seeds squeezed out
  • 500 g peeled minced ginger
  • 250 g peeled minced garlic
  • 1 kg red bell pepper, finely chopped and de-seeded
  • 500 g kosher salt
  • 100 g glutinous rice flour
  • 250 g Baiju white spirit
  • 1/2 cup fresh Celery leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro
  • 1/8 cup fresh Sawtooth herb (aka culantro) – if unavailable, substitute cilantro or omit)
  • 1/8 cup fresh Thai basil (if unavailable, use regular basil with some freshly-ground fennel seeds)
  • 1/3 cup hong zao, minced with pit removed if they are present
  • 1/2 cup fresh sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup Tianjin preserved vegetable (can replace with sauerkraut if you can’t find it)
  • 1/3 cup shaoxing rice wine (if unavailable, use dry sherry)
  • 6 Shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small hand of young ginger, diced (if young ginger is unavailable, use 1/2 small hand of peeled regular ginger)
  • 2 Tbsp. 6 year aged kanzuri (or to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp. Pixian 3 year aged doubanjiang
  • 1/2 cup pickled Sichuan peppers, chopped
  • bottled water as needed to cover ingredients
  • ***
  • 2 1/4 lbs. cleaned carp or farmed catfish fillets
  • 2 fresh bay leaves (preferred) or 2 dried
  • 2 star anise
  • low-salt canned chicken or vegetable stock or homemade (preferred) as needed
  • ***
  • For garnish:
  • 1 cup fresh soybean sprouts
  • 1 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • some chili paste, chili crisp, kanzuri and doubanjiang to stir in to each individual soup serving
  • More fresh celery leaves, cilantro, sawtooth herb, Thai basil


  1. Add glutionous rice flour and baiju in a pickling crock, combine together. Add all remaining ingredients for fermented tomato base to the pickling crock – add enough bottled water so that everything is covered in liquid. Combine, seal crock and stir once a day for two weeks, resealing after each stir – do NOT reuse the unwashed spoon or contaminate the pickling mixture by putting your fingers into it.
  2. After two weeks, pour out ingredients into a pot large enough to easily hold the ingredients. Use an immersion blender and process to a smooth consistency.
  3. Turn the stove onto medium-high heat, add the bay leaves and star anise and bring just to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid anything burning on the bottom of the pot. Taste – if needed, add chicken or vegetable stock to get the flavor and consistency to where you like it – remember it MUST be sour!
  4. Add the carp or catfish fillets. You can cut them into pieces or keep whole, as you see fit.
  5. Cook for about 15 minutes or until just cooked through.
  6. Ladle into bowls, top with garnishes and let diners add condiments as they see fit to their individual bowls.
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