Roly Poly Fish Head Soup

Want more from Genius Kitchen?

Watch on your Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV and your iOS, Fire, or Android device.

Learn More
“Okay, I give... the original title of this recipe didn't include "Roly Poly." But in the spirit of fun that the recipe was gifted to me by my childhood mentor, Mr. Vanderwal, I just *had* to include it. He, of course, recalled the days when I and my silly little friends would drive he and other adults nuts with repeated verses of the song "Fish Heads" and he sent me the recipe from an Oregonian clipping in 1999 along with congratulations on my then-recent wedding. :) So I dedicate this one to you, Stan. All my love! (Recipe adapted from “The Chinese Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee.)”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the cod cheek(s) or other non-only fish head(s) (make sure those gills are removed!) and the chicken liver. Allow the water to come back to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Drain the water from the pot and discard the liquid. Set the semi-cooked fish and liver aside to cool.
  2. Remove any meat from the fish bones; discard bones, set aside meat. Dice the cooked liver into 3/8-inch pieces; set aside.
  3. Fill a small bowl with boiling water and soak the mushroom pieces in the hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  4. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the spinach leaves and let them blanch for 10 seconds. Remove them with a sieve or skinner and immediately run them under cold water to halt the cooking. Squeeze any excess water from the leaves and set aside.
  5. Bring the saucepan of water back to a boil and blanch the snow peas for 10 seconds, then remove the peas and run them under cold water. Set them aside.
  6. In a pot bring the chicken broth to a boil, then add the bamboo shoots, chicken liver pieces, fish meat, and soaked mushroom pieces. Gently simmer over low heat until the fish flakes easily.
  7. Whisk the cornstarch together with the 1/3 cup cold water, then gradually stir it into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and cook just until the soup thickens, then remove from heat.
  8. Add the blanched spinach and snow peas.
  9. While the soup is still piping hot, gradually add the egg whites while stirring constantly.
  10. Serve in a soup tureen, garnished with the chopped green onions.

Watch more

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a