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Not Feeling So Good? This Humble Chinese Fish Broth May Be The Cure

There’s something about homemade broth that comforts, no matter the time of day. In this season when many of our loved ones may be sick with a cough or cold, or worse, down with the flu, there’s healing to be done, not just with the medicine the doctor prescribes, but with food that nourishes the body, boosting the immune system, and tasting great, too.

The not-so-secret ingredient to this recipe, according to food stylist and recipe developer Katherine Jao, is in the burdock stem. Not only does it impart taste and flavor to the broth, the stem is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat illnesses such as fever, stomach conditions, gout and fluid retention. You can usually find it in Binondo or most Chinese specialty groceries.


Milky Fish Broth

Serves 4


  • 1 kilo fresh lapu lapu head, pre-fried
  • 1/2 stem burdock
  • water, enough to cover fish
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Chinese mustard leaves
  • 1 tube silken tofu
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a pot, bring lapu lapu head and burdock stem to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the broth becomes cloudy.

2. Add milk, mustard leaves, and tofu. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Before serving, chop up the fish head and return to the soup. Serve hot.



This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 2, 2015

Styling by Katherine Jao

Photography by Justin de Jesus