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Sup Baso Ikan dan Tahu - Homemade Fish Balls and Tofu Soup

Baso (meat balls) and tahu (tofu) are two of the more commonly found ingredients used in Indonesian cooking originally introduced to the country by the Chinese immigrants. Most Indonesians are probably unaware of such origin since there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes in Indonesia using these two ingredients. Some of the recipes are more Indonesian than Chinese, but I am almost 100% sure that the following recipe is closer to Chinese than Indonesian, though I would welcome a firm confirmation from a culinary expert :)

Sup Baso Ikan dan Tahu - Homemade Fish Balls and Tofu Soup
Sup Baso Ikan dan Tahu - Homemade Fish Balls and Tofu Soup

Sup Baso Ikan dan Tahu - Homemade Fish Balls and Tofu Soup

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • Fish Balls
  • 450 gram spanish mackerel fillet (Indonesian: ikan tenggiri)
  • 75 ml ice cold water
  • 125 gram tapioca starch (Indonesian: tepung sagu)
  • 3 egg whites (Indonesian: telur putih)
  • 6 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih), grated
  • 1 tablespoon deep fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng), crushed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Soup
  • 8 cups (2 liter) fish stock (or 8 cups water + 1 1/2 tablespoon fish bouillon)
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2 inch sections
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 150 gram fresh wood ear mushroom (Indonesian: jamur kuping)
  • 75 gram dried lily flower (Indonesian: bunga sedap malam), soaked until soften, knotted and remove the tough bits
  • 300 gram firm tofu, cut into triangular wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Garnish and accompaniments
  • lime wedges
  • thinly sliced scallions
  • deep fried shallots
  • sambal (chili sauce) of your choice, I prefer sambal oelek for this


  • Fish Balls
    1. In a food processor, grind together mackerel fillet and cold water into a paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl, along with the rest of the fish ball ingredients. Mix until well combined.
    2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. With two spoons (or hands if you prefer), make 1 tablespoon balls from the fish paste and drop into the boiling water. The fish balls are cooked when they float to the top. Remove the cooked fish balls and set aside.
  • Soup
    1. Boil fish stock, ginger, and scallion in a soup pot.
    2. Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Pour into the soup.
    3. Add white pepper, nutmeg, wood ear, lily flower, tofu, and fish balls and bring to a boil. Season with salt and sugar, and adjust the taste to suit your preference. Drizzle with sesame oil, then turn off the heat.
    4. Served hot in serving bowls along with the accompaniments.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • the lousy cook wife the lousy cook wife says:

    Hi Anita, if I don't have the bunga sedap malam, is it possible to make this recipe without it? Thanks!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Stephanie, yes it is okay to leave out the bunga sedap malam if you don't have them, but you may want to increase the amount of wood ear mushrooms.

  • Berton Berton says:

    It is the real photo? I seldom found something like this before.. It looks simple, but i think the taste is nice! Can I have a chance to try your cooking?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Berton, it is the real photo :) I tend to prepare simple food myself, kinda lazy when the steps are too complicated.

  • CeCe CeCe says:

    How many fish balls does this make approximately?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Around 40 if using tablespoon (for eating, not the measuring one).

  • Milky Milky says:

    There's no way I can think about Indonesian food without screaming for BAKSO. It's almost a chant: bakso, bakso, bakso... anyway, it's such a standard, and I LOVE fishcakes and meatballs and any of that type of food from Asia. So you have a recipe to make them MYSELF?? See, this is why you get all these comments from me, is because you cultivate all the recipes I need to recreate dishes I love where I cannot buy them.
    SO the soup was, of course, delicious. It's a fishy dish, so naturally the ginger is the perfect taste (it's something I always heard from a Chinese mom; that ginger cuts the "fishiness") and I also had to go without the lily bulb. I wonder if I could grow an onion stem and dry it myself as a substitute? But maybe that's a bit weird.... Anyway, I also gave some to my parents, and they enjoyed it. The fish balls were sort of like dumplings hahahah
    So anyway, the fishballs- that was really fun to make! I think it would be a fun 2 person cooking thing, or make some kids help.
    Now to mention some difficulty- It's always tough to determine the texture: these were a LOT softer than the type you buy at the market or even in Vietnamese pho. Mine needed a little extra cooking time after they floated to the top- the middle was still a little gooey. So, I still got them cooked enough, and the taste... excellent. So I wonder, if my "high altitude" problem made the boiling process weaker?
    Also, if I needed to blend them longer in the food processor to get them more "chewy"? Likewise, maybe adjust my ratio of meat/starch?
    The last thing is also that I used... 'mystery fish' hahahaha I'm pretty sure it was halibut, and it might have been a special cut (maybe cheeks?) Since we get nice fish from family who fish it themselves, we get really high quality stuff, but I think fish balls are usually cheaper fishes. So I wonder if some kinds of fish are "bad" for making bakso?
    Anyway, just my regular list of concerns, the recipe still makes a great dish, but I figure there's someone thinking "oh no, I really messed up" and maybe messed it up the same as me hahahaha

    • Anita Anita says:

      Coming from Indonesia, we only use one kind of fish to make fish balls, and it's always ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel), so I am not sure if your mystery fish (halibut) is the culprit. But, I think maybe you can try starting with less water next time. As long as there is enough water to hold the fish paste together, it should be alright, and you should get firmer fish balls. Also, the water needs to be ice cold, some people even use half ice-cold water, and half ice cubes just to make sure it's super cold, so that might be another factor to consider. :)
      As for the lilies, you can get them from Amazon, though like almost all other Asian ingredients, the price is higher online.

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