Amaranth Fish Potage | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Amaranth Fish Potage

Amaranth Fish Potage

Have you ever tried Chinese snake soup? No fear, this recipe has nothing to do with snakes. It is more about the consistency.

Snack soup differs from most Chinese soups not only in the way that it is cooked with a weird ingredient but also it is thickened than watery. In Chinese, a thickened soup is specifically referred as ‘gēng 羮’, e.g. 蛇羮 (snake potage). So does this ‘soup’. However, there is not without exception; a thickened soup like this is not called potage. A habit perhaps?

A ‘watery’ soup to me is not a bad thing. Say for this soup, it has to be watery because neither is it thickened nor is it cooked to become concentrated.

This is the first potage recipe I have here, and it is also one good to be cooked with or without stock.

Amaranth Chopped

  • Ingredients
  • 50g purple amaranth (it has twice the amount of iron as their green counterpart).
  • 50g fish fillet, diced or sliced in the size of a finger nail
  • 2 cups stock or dashi
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Marinades for fish
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp oil


Discard roots and old stems of amaranth. Wash and drain dry. Scald in hot water, drain again. Roughly chop amaranth.

Marinade diced fish fillet for 15 to 30 minutes (thaw, wash and pat it day before marinading, if required).

In a pot, bring stock to a boil; add chopped amaranth and fish fillets. Keep boiling for another 2 minutes or till done. Mix well the water and water chestnut powder to form a paste, gradually swirl into the soup to thicken but avoid lumps.

Season with fish sauce, sugar and salt.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Amaranth Fish Potage

If not cooking with any stock
Crush 1 to 2 cloves of garlic and sauté them with a teaspoon of oil. Then add in the chopped amaranth, sprinkle some wine and add water to boil (the rest will be the same as you would do it with stock or dashi).

The amaranth you see here is the leftover from a stir-fry and the fish fillet is part of the ready stock in my freezer, that is why they are in small amount. With the stock or dashi, they together yield about two bowls of soup. Feel free to multiply the amount you required or substitute shrimps for fish fillet.

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  1. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    this fish potage sounds and looks delicious especially with the amaranth, lovely colours! I’ve never tried snake and don’t intend to hehhe

  2. TasteHongKong

    @Tastes of Home (Jen),
    I could understand why cause eating snake soup may sound scary. I did have to overcome that psychological impact as well. Anyway, it is more or less like chewing lean pork.

  3. Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah

    I’ve had the amaranth in soup before but I’m embarrassed to say I had no clue what its name in either English or Chinese was! The way I’ve had it is with salted egg cooked into it, and its neither too watery nor thick. Is that considered a potage also?

  4. TasteHongKong

    @Life for Beginners,
    You do know how to make a simple yet yummy amaranth soup, or potage? Whichever : ).
    Here in H.K., we call amaranth, ‘莧菜’.

  5. Little Inbox

    This is a lovely soup. Never use purple Amaranth in cooking soup before. It’s such a good ingredient.

  6. TasteHongKong

    @Little Inbox,
    Yes, amaranth is a nutritious veggie, rich in iron. Enjoy!

  7. Pepy@Indonesia Eats

    I love amaranth soup! I usually enjoy it with dadar jagung (corn fritters) and sambal :))

  8. TasteHongKong

    @Pepy@Indonesia Eats,
    Amaranth soup with fritters, got it. Thanks!

  9. Mei Teng

    Purple aramanth is something totally new to me. Never heard of it before.

  10. TasteHongKong

    Hi Everyone,
    I shall have limited internet access in these two days. So excuse me if I respond late.

  11. Juliana

    I am ashamed to admit but I never had amaranth…the soup sure looks very tasty with the fish stock. Have to give this a try. Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  12. Lisa H.

    looks so inviting and the vege gave a nice colour to the soup
    we used to eat this a lot in Malaysia… I called this ~ ‘Red Spinach’ loose translation from Malay word Bayam Merah 🙂

  13. lena

    over here, we usually have this with anchovies as a base soup with some century egg and just add in the amaranth but not as in potage. is this quite a common soup served in hkg ?

  14. TasteHongKong

    Yes, sounds familiar. We have a dish cooked with green amaranth + century egg + salted egg, called 金銀蛋莧菜, which is served in a thin sauce.
    With anchovies, the veggie soup must far from bland too.

  15. pigpigscorner

    We wanted to try snake soup when we went to HK last yr but in-laws were afraid it’ll be too heaty.

  16. Lori

    I am as intrigued by the mention of snake soup as I am at the use of amaranth. I’ve seen it in the leaf/plant form online, but only used or have found it here in the grain/seed form. It is a gorgeous plant and sounds so good in this potage.

  17. Anthony

    Dear Taste,

    I am one of the managers of a restaurant in San Francisco called Mission Chinese Food. The restaurant was recently featured in the New York Times, twice, The LA Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, also twice. We were also named best new restaurant and best Chinese restaurant by The San Francisco Weekly newspaper.

    Most of the restaurant’s staff—including the chef, Danny Bowien, and several of our other cooks—are traveling to China this month. For reasons that are too complicated to explain, we will be spending a few days in Shenzhen, where we have decided to cook our style of Chinese food in a restaurant for one night only: Sunday, June 12th, 2011. We are inviting you to attend with up to three guests (four total people). The meal will be 5-10 courses and will cost 100-150 RMB per person depending on market prices and availability. 10 RMB from each meal will be donated to the Shenzhen Red Cross.

    I apologize for contacting you directly, but the owners of the restaurant requested that we welcome our guests by invitation only, because they do not want to publicize the event in advance. Please email me to RSVP at You can choose any time between 6:00pm and 8:30 pm. After the dinner, you are free to discuss or blog about the event, but until then we ask that you do not publicize it beyond your guests. We will email you the address on the morning of the event. Thank you for understanding—we know this is highly unusual, but we hope that the experience will be fun and delicious.


    Anthony Myint

  18. TasteHongKong

    I feel much honored to be invited. Please read my email to you in minutes.
    Thanks for your kind invitation.

  19. penny aka jeroxie

    I love how the colour changes in this soup. 🙂

  20. tigerfish

    You created a new soup in my eyes! And it is very nutritious too! Lovely.

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