Papaya fish soup (木瓜鱼片汤)

I found a really small papaya today at the vegetable stall - it was supposed to be a green papaya (unripe) but since most of it looked almost ripe, when I expressed interest in it, the stall holder gave it to me. :P Hee. 

And so, I changed the menu for dinner immediately... papaya fish soup was definitely gonna be on the menu for the night! I couldn't get sheng yu however since it was all sold out so I decided to just use the red snapper fillet I just bought from my usual fish stall. 

Green papaya fish soup is believed to increase breast milk supply so it's usually drunk by women who have just given birth (during confinement month - I drank this soup twice during confinement but didn't really like the cooking.. haha) or those who need that extra boost in breast milk supply. Normal papaya can also be used for this soup, just that you would need to cut down the time for simmering the soup so that the papaya will not disintegrate in the process of cooking. I don't think I need that boost in milk supply but I just enjoy drinking the soup... lol. Come to think about it, I've been breastfeeding for almost 30months! :P

Papaya fish soup (木瓜鱼片汤)


  • fish bones from 3 red snapper tails (I think it should be at least 500g) - you can use other fish bones such as threadfin
  • 1 slab of red snapper fillet (costs about $5 at the market) - usually present in this soup is shengyu 
  • 1 small (green) papaya
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic (skin on), rinse
  • 2 bunches of scallions (cut into 2" segments)
  • 6 seedless red dates
  • 2L water
  • 1-2 teaspoons hua diao jiu
  • sesame oil

Seasoning for soup:

  • salt/ fish sauce (I used fish sauce)
  • ground white pepper to taste

Marinate fish with:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a couple of dashes of pepper
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon cornflour or potato starch


  1. Skin the papaya, remove the seeds and cut into chunks. 
  2. Scald the papaya briefly with boiling water to remove the sap. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add some sesame oil into the claypot and stir-fry the ginger till fragrant. Add the fish bones and fry for a short while. Remove from pot and place in a cloth soup bag - this is to ensure that there will be no bones in the soup and hence safe for consumption, especially for young children. Double check that there are no bones in the claypot after removing the fish bones.
  4. Add water into the claypot which you have just used and bring it to a boil.
  5. Add the garlic, scallions, red dates, hua diao jiu, papaya and the bag of fish bones and bring the soup to a boil again.
  6. Simmer for about 1.5hours.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the fish fillet and slice the meat very thinly.
  8. Marinate the fish slices with salt, pepper and cornflour (prevents the fish from disintegrating). Set aside in the fridge.
  9. When soup is ready, remove the bag of bones, red dates, garlic, scallions and ginger, leaving only the papaya in the soup.
  10. Add seasoning to taste.
  11. Bring the soup to a boil again. Add the fish slices into the soup and turn off the fire. Cover the claypot and let the heat in the soup do the cooking.
  12. Dish and serve after a couple of minutes.

Although I didn't use sheng yu today, the red snapper slices were wonderfully tender! Actually I thought they tasted even better than sheng yu slices! :) Hubby was full of praises for the soup - usually he complains about the fishy soups his mum cooks or those from coffeeshops but he actually liked this fish soup and asked me to cook it more often! hee.

Tip: To make this a one-dish meal, you can blanch some bee hoon or other noodle of your choice and add it into the soup.


  1. Hi there, do you think it is okay to take green papaya fish soup during pregnancy? I know it is a confinement soup but feel like preparing it to drink. Currently 27 weeks. Thanks.

  2. Hi Savvy Mummy, I don't think there is any issue with it as long as the fish u use has low mercury content and you are ok with eating fish since some pregnant mums find it hard to eat fish when preg due to the smell. :)


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