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Chinese soups

82. Marrow, prawn and ‘Fen si’ (Cellophane noodles) clear soup

how to make simple chinese clear soup recipe with marrow prawn and fensi
Chinese marrow soup

From late autumn in Edinburgh to hot summer in Verona and Venice, to mid autumn Oxford, and now late autumn / almost early winter in Bonn / Cologne; I feel like we are traveling between different seasons rather than between locations. Long winters and summers can be unbearable, but when you travel in between seasons, you enjoy a taste for each of them for a short while; then even the hottest summer day or cold, chili winter day becomes lovely.

Here, in Bonn, it feels like late autumn, with yellow and red leaves covering the streets, together with beautiful houses on both sides of the road; my usual sadness in autumn is completely gone, instead, I am feeling joyful and grateful…

Today’s recipe, Marrow, prawn and ‘Fen si (Cellophane noodles) Soup (clear based) — created by me; tested by my husband, who does not usually like marrow dishes, but he gave me a thumbs up for this one. :))

Saying it is ‘created by me’ — I am a boasting myself a little here, or I should really take any credit at all. The thing is I could not find ‘marrow’ in the Chinese vegetable catalogue; sometimes people use the name ‘courgette’ for referring to marrow
as well (some big big size courgettes just look like marrows) — but normal courgette would not fit well. So I used a ‘winter melon’ recipe, and altered it a little bit.

However, I have to say that this is a clear, light soup with very fresh taste, so you have to ‘like’ this kind of soup to enjoy this recipe, coz like I said Chinese clear soup is very different to normal ‘Western creamy’ soup.

It is very easy to make, and takes no time. Well, for keeping it fresh, it can not be cooked very long anyway, as if marrow gets too soft, it loses its taste, and if Fensi is cooked too long, it will get soaked up in the ‘soup’, the soup will get dry. Here you go.


Marrow, prawns, ‘Fen si’ (Cellophane noodles)

Garlic, oil, ground sichuan peppercorn, salt, light soy sauce, MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional), sesame oil


1) Chop around 1/3 of marrow into around 4-5cm long thin slices, if there are too many seeds in the centre, got rid of them first, otherwise, it all can be used.

simple chinese soup recipe with marrow and prawn
Chopping the marrow

2) Chop the prawns (I used ‘king prawns’ from frozen ones, fresh ones are much better if you can get them.) into 1cm long pieces.

Chinese prawn soup recipe with marrow
Chopping the prawns

3) Soak a very small handful Fen si’ (Cellophane noodles) in warm water, and chop them in around 4-5cm long strips.

Chinese recipe soup marrow soup with prawn
Soaking the fen si

4) Chop 2-3 gloves of garlic into small pieces.


1) Pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil in a heated sauce pan.

2) Then add in chopped garlic and 1/2 ground sichuan peppercorn.

making simple Chinese soup with marrow and prawn
Adding garlic and sichuan peppercorn

3) When the smell of the garlic and ground sichuan peppercorn starts coming out, pour in 3 rice bowls of water, and bring it to boiling.

cooking Chinese soup with marrow and prawn

4) Then add in chopped marrow and prawn, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce.

how to make Chinese simple marrow soup
Adding marrow and prawns

5) When the marrow slices seem to be getting ‘softer’, (normally takes around 4 minutes after boiling), add in soaked and shortened ‘Fen si’ (Cellophane noodles).

making clear chinese soup with marrow and prawn
Boiling the soup

6) Probably keep on boiling for further a minute — done.

7) Before take it to the serving bowl, add in a few drops of sesame oil.

I made the soup for accompanying ‘Chinese steamed bread’. It is good to go with ‘bread’, ‘bing’, or ‘baozi’.

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