Stir-Fired Fish Maw with Eggs and Bean Sprouts | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Stir-Fired Fish Maw with Eggs and Bean Sprouts

Stir-Fired Fish Maw with Bean Sprouts and Eggs

I always have good time reading readers’ comments and emails. This is quite an unfair scenario because in return I could not necessarily answer their requests or questions. Recently two ladies expressed their interests in reading more Cantonese recipes; and that is a lovely message because I know this is what I could handle. If you are not familiar with what they are referring to, no worries, you will soon see this is actually a nutritious Chinese dishes which can easily be accomplished by stir-frying.

The typical way of cooking this may be more elaborate. I make a tweak here to make the stir-frying simpler. No deny, I once cheated in frying noodles and here again.

If you know how to make omelets, I bet it is even easier for you to cook this. The trick is, do not keep the fried eggs in good shapes but instead you need to stir cook them into small patches, more or less like a good bunch of little yellow flowers. That is why in Chinese, this dish is also called Stirred-Fried Fish Maw with Osmanthus (桂花炒魚肚).

Dried Fish Maw

Fish maw actually is the air bladder in a fish, and is a kind of high-protein low-fat food. It has been known among Chinese for its tonic value, believing it good for nourishing and keeping skin young.

Basically, there are two types of dried fish maws, fried and non-fried. The type of fish maw used for this recipe is fried. Contrary to the non-fried ones which mostly appear translucently yellow and looks plastic, it usually looks pale white and weighs like feathers. One whole piece measuring roughly 15cm times 7cm weighs only 10g.

There is a wide array of dried fish maws with prices range from a few hundred to more than several thousand Hong Kong dollars per 600g (or one catty). I’m no expert in selecting fish maws but, for making this dish, I know I should get the fried ones which is good for stir-fries. Sometimes if I’m allowed, I will hold it close to my nose to check if it is odor-free.

  • Ingredients
  • 10g fried fish maw
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50g bean sprout
  • ham (same as this), ~2 x thumb size, shredded
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced spring onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Dried Fish Maw

  • Blanching fish maw
  • 2 sprigs spring onions
  • 3-4 slices ginger, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cooking wine
  • 2-3 cups water
  • Seasonings for fish maw
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper

Reconstituted Diced Fish Maw
Diced Fish Maw


Soak fried fish maw with 2 to 3 cups of water until soften and malleable, about 3 to 4 hours. Apply some weights to it, like topping it with a plate so that it doesn’t float above water but is fully submerged.

After the fish maw is reconstituted, rinse off any dirt or impurities and squeeze away water. Set aside. Meanwhile, toast the ham in oven under low heat until fragrant and julienne.

In a pan, put all ingredients together for blanching and bring the water to a boil. Add the fish maw and blanch it for about a minute. Doing this is to get rid of its fishy smell (avoid prolonged boiling as it will render the fish maw too soft). Drain and discard all but keep the fish maw.

Squeeze all water from the fish maw; pat dry with paper towel if it is still wet. Dice it into about half cm cubes. Add seasonings to them and mix well. On the other hand, mix fish sauce into the beaten egg.

Here is my cheat, instead of frying eggs and fish maw separately as the classic way does, mix these two together right before frying.

Heat wok with medium flame, add 2 table spoons of oil. When heated, pour in egg mixture with the fish maw. Fry the eggs, and flip as they turn golden. Add in toasted ham; stir the eggs into small pieces with the back of a turner and keep frying till all ingredients are dried. Push aside, toss in bean sprouts, briefly stir fry (they will loss their crunchiness if over-cooked) and sprinkle in 1/8 tea spoon salt. Assemble all together, dish up. Garnish with spring onion.

Why not following the classic way?
Reconstituted fish maw may easily stick to the wok when heated. Professional chefs can minimize such by tossing the fish maw with the whole wok skillfully, which to me is not easy to replicate. But as it is mixed and coated with eggs before frying, the problem is gone.

Stir-Fired Fish Maw with Bean Sprouts and Eggs

When done, you will find the fish maw barely visible as each dice of it is wrapped with fried egg. But you may have in each bite the chewiness of the fish maw and crunchiness of bean sprouts.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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  1. Calvin

    Wow! I had no idea that you could stir-fry fish maw. I’ve only had it in soup. Maybe I’ll try this at some point.

  2. TasteHongKong

    I like soups with fish maw too. Enjoy trying this ‘new’ dish!

  3. Annie

    This looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try this out!

    I tried your fish filet in runny egg recipe and I can’t believe how perfect it came out! My husband loves runny eggs (fish, shrimp… beef… etc) and I never knew how to make it. Thanks to you now he’s happy! 🙂

  4. Angie's Recipes

    I just had fish maw in soup and braised with veggies, but stir-fried fish maw..that’s something new to me and I am entirely enticed.
    I wish you a wonderful weekend!

  5. Mary Moh

    My mom said fish maw is very good for health especially for the back. It’s very expensive back home. We usually eat it cooked in soup. Next time if I have the chance to get some, I would love to fry like what you did. Thanks very much for sharing a simple way to cook it. Hope you have a great weekend.

  6. Lena

    stir frying the fish maw is new to me this also a dish served in hk restaurants?

  7. Carolyn Jung

    This brings me back to my childhood. I remember marveling at fish maw at Chinatown shops when I was a kid. I didn’t exactly know what it was, but it looked like some kind of potato chip to me back then. Hah. I remember having it in many Chinese soups, too. Adds a very interesting texture.

  8. TasteHongKong

    Fried Fish Fillets with Corn Sauce? Glad you like it and wish you enjoy more with your hubby!

    Hope you have chances to enjoy this too. Have a great weekend!

    @Mary Moh,
    The fried fish maw I bought is not that expensive, costing me approximately HK$50 for 50g, which means it is about HK$10 for the portion mentioned here.
    Now I learned from you that it is also good for the back, thanks!

    Yes, but only some established or decent Cantonese restaurants serve this.

    @Carolyn Jung,
    Little Carolyn must be a kid with great imagination!

  9. penny aka jeroxie

    That is how fish maw doesn’t stick to the pan… not cooked much because it always turn out messy!

  10. Mei Teng

    I usually have fish maw in soups. Never had them stir fried before. Thanks for sharing this new way of enjoying fish maw.

  11. tigerfish

    Thanks for introducing this dish. Kinda of new to me but I have tried Stir-Fried 桂花Shark’s Fins and I love it! Maybe they like to combine expensive ingredients with 桂花…

  12. mumusings

    Lovely recipe – my husband will likely enjoy this dish:)

  13. Lori

    This dish is beautiful! I’m sure we came across fish maw countless times in Hong Kong, but never tried it. At that point, I didn’t know what it was! 🙂 I wonder if I could find this at our Asian market. I’d love to give it a try.

  14. Juliana

    I never had fish maw made this way…always in soup…would love to try this recipes…yummie!

  15. emy@thehandiworks

    I am sure my dad would love this!

  16. noobcook

    I love fish maw – actually bought mine from HK because they are better quality and cheaper than SG. Love your fish maw dish, looks golden and yummy =)

  17. pigpigscorner

    At a glance, the eggs look like cauliflower lol I’ve never had fish maw cooked like this before, interesting!

  18. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    I have only had fish maw mostly in soups, this is definitely a new way of eating and sounds yummy too!

  19. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    The fish maw is such an expensive ingredient, so that’s why we don’t always have it. Just once in a while or for making meals on special occasions. After moving to Australia, I’ve ever had it up to now. Miss it much. 🙁

  20. Erica

    Thanks for the recipe! I just had this dish on 21/1 when I was in hat Yai, Thailand. And We all LOVED it! Then I recall coming across yr web and the recipes! I’m gonna whip up this dish for my chinese new year lunch!

  21. TasteHongKong

    Good memory, and thanks for sharing with me your experience. Though mine might not be the same as the one you tried in Thailand, hope you also enjoy this.

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  23. Stacey

    I just cooked this dish. It is awesome. I changed a little bit. Instead of ham I replaced it with chinese sausage cube. I put too much fish maw but still taste good. As long as the fish maw don’t have those nasty smell.

  24. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for your feedback, and I’m glad that you like this. It also means you had made it right with your own adaptation!

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