Fish Fillet with Soybean Crumbs | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Fish Fillet with Soybean Crumbs

Fish Fillet with Soybean Crumbs 豆酥魚

After making soybean milk, I have developed a habit to reserve the pulp in fridge. It did not happen right away because I was once suspicious of cooking and eating that white mass. I thought the tastes of beans were all gone after my soaking, grinding, and straining them to the last droplet of juice.

So trying to substitute the soybean pulp for a very small portion of ground meat in dishes was among my very first attempts, and preparing this easy, crisp soybean crumbs was another. Thereafter, I have been more determined to spare a space for keeping the strained mass in my tiny fridge and even have it cooked into patties.

I did not invent this dish but probably was inspired by the 豆酥魚, meaning crispy bean on fish, of Hunan cuisine (also called Xiang cuisine), which is one of the eight major regional cuisines of China. Hunan, located in the south central part of the mainland, is also adjacent to Sichuan’s south-east border. Her dishes are also known for the liberal use of chili peppers, garlic and shallots but without the numbness as Sichuan does.

Soybeans and Garlic Crumbs

I like Hunan’s pungent dishes yet also fear their usual oiliness. Therefore, instead of frying the bean crumbs and chopped garlic, I cooked them in my toaster. While the fish was being cooked, I harvested them in golden brown and in a crunchy texture stronger than roasted breadcrumbs. The flavors of soy, though was subtle, and garlic had come together nicely.

  • Ingredients
  • ~200g fish fillet, frozen or fresh
  • 6 tbsp soy bean crumbs
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tbsp chili powder or chili flake, optional
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • ~2 tbsp cooking oil, divide
  • julienned spring onion and chili pepper for garnishing
  • Marinades for fish
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper

Fish Fillet with Soybean Crumbs 豆酥魚


Thaw and wash fish fillet, if required. Pat dry, marinade for about 15 minutes.

Heat one table spoon of oil in pan over medium heat and evenly distribute it half way on sides. Fry fish on both side until golden brown as suggested in one of my previous recipes, where you may also find some more details on pan-frying fish without sticking to pan.

Mix well soybean crumbs, chopped garlic, sugar, salt, chili flake (if using), sesame oil and one table spoon of oil. Fluff the soybean crumbs to remove any lumps. Evenly distribute the mix on an oven-safe dish, grill it in a toaster or oven till golden brown. The thinner the crumbs are distributed, the lesser the time required. (I toasted the mixed crumbs under low heat [425W], covered with foil for the first 10 minutes and stirred them halfway. Then, they were uncovered and heated for another couple of minutes.)

Serve hot, top the fried fish fillet with toasted crumbs only before serving, since the crumbs will turn softened if they sit on the fish for too long. Garnish with julienned spring onion and chili pepper.

Enjoy every morsel of fish fillet with a generous amount of crunchy crumbs.

Fish Fillet with Soy Bean Crumbs 豆酥魚

Twisted vs classic:
The authentic Hunan version seldom skips chili pepper, but I found the crumbs equally tasty though they were not seasoned with any chilies.

Making crumbs:
To make soybean crumbs or soy milk, you need to soak the beans overnight before pulsing them in a food processor.

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  1. tigerfish

    I did not know the 豆酥 in 豆酥魚 are soy beans. I miss this dish less the greasiness of course. Toasting is absolutely a good idea. Since I am thinking of making soy milk at home some day, the use of the “渣”is really timely. Thanks 😀 Lovely post.

  2. TasteHongKong

    Yes, once I got the timing right for toasting, the task was almost effortless. Enjoy!

  3. I'Ching

    Beginner’s question: How long can one keep the soy bean pulp in the fridge before using it? I’m intrigued by this no-waste recipe!

  4. TasteHongKong

    That is a good question. I’d recommend using the soybean pulp within 2 to 3 days, and preferably the next day. The longer it sits in the fridge (even covered with cling film), the more it loses flavors, though it does not necessarily deteriorate. Hope you’ll soon enjoy this no-waste recipe!

  5. Amy Tong

    This dish looks amazing. I love serving fish at home since my dad and my father-in-law both love to fish so I get fresh supplies all the time. Gotta try your recipe soon. I’m sure my family will love it too.

  6. Lisa H.

    Another great recipe…. 😀
    and beautiful photos too

  7. TasteHongKong

    @Amy Tong,
    I like your idea.

    @Lisa H,

  8. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    what a creative idea! I would never have thought of using the strained soybeans from making soybean milk..well done! 😀

  9. TasteHongKong

    @Tastes of Home (Jen),
    Yes, someone who pioneered the use is creative : ).

  10. mycookinghut

    This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  11. ju

    I always use ready made bottled crispy 豆酥. But it is too oily for my liking. I did not know that we can use soya bean pulp. In this way, there is no wastage. Tks for sharing this knowledge.

  12. TasteHongKong

    You are welcome!

    You are welcome!
    Yes, waste less, save more, and yummy too : ).

  13. Amelia

    Looks delicious, thanks for sharing.

  14. Juliana

    Wow, what a great way to use the soybean crumb…I remember when I used to make soybean milk and would discard all the crumbs…wish I had known…
    Hope you are having a fantastic week 🙂

  15. kristy

    Hi there, you’ve been tagged in the 7 links challenge! Hope you will join in the fun. Btw, another fabulous post. I have yet tried out soybean crumbs. Must be so fragrant. YUmmmm….
    Hope you’re having a great day.
    Regards, Kristy

  16. Lori

    I love the idea of these crumbs. What a great way to make use of every part of the soybean and the milk making process. Wonderful idea!

  17. penny aka jeroxie

    I can keep the soy bean crumbs for this next time. I usually just chuck away!

  18. TasteHongKong


    Thanks, that was what I did too : ).

  19. TasteHongKong

    Thanks, I shall check it out!

    One ingredient, two dishes : ).

    @penny aka jeroxie,
    Next time : ).

  20. noobcook

    what a great way to use up the soy bean crumbs… love it when nothing goes to waste in cooking 🙂

  21. lena

    yeah, i remember you talking about the use of soybean pulps in your earlier post. thank you for sharing this again!

  22. TasteHongKong

    Perhaps a money saving recipe too : ).

    My hug, may I : )?

  23. edith

    I just discovered soy crumb last week and had plans to find out more on utlising this as I usually dumped it away after making soy milk. Your recipe comes at a perfect time.

  24. Sharon


    I found your blog by accident. Thank you for posting all this information and in English! I’m anxious to try preparing some of these dishes.

    The one I fear the most is trying to make my own Tempeh. Theres noplace where I live that sells it fresh but without some flavoring. I like Tofu but Im terrible at preparing it.

    Also I am not from a culture that likes fish. I am still trying to find one I can enjoy.

    Thanks so much!

  25. TasteHongKong

    I too dumped it before.
    edith, excuse me! I mistakenly missed this reply to you. Sorry for the delay.

  26. TasteHongKong

    Welcome and thanks for writing!
    Hope you will soon enjoy fishes and benefit from their nutrition.
    Many tofu recipes are easy to prepare, I also hope you could have chances to pick at least one or two recipes from this list to try them out. Enjoy!