Heart Healthy Fish with Hong Hua and Hei Mu Er

This delicious recipe supports healthy blood circulation, warms the body, and tonifies the Qi. It features grouper, which is rich in a wealth of nutrients that includes selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B6, B12, high quality collagen, and of course polyunsaturated fatty acids that protect the lining of the blood vessels.

Photo of fish dish with hong hua and hei mu er

Hong hua, or Safflower is spicy, slightly bitter, warm in nature and enters the Heart and Liver meridians. The TCM functions for Hong hua are to invigorate Blood, remove Blood stagnation, open the channels and alleviate pain.

Hei Mu Er or Black fungus is neutral and sweet in nature, nourishing to the Yin, and most often found in the category of herbs that Regulate the Blood, due to its action of cooling the Blood and stopping bleeding. It is said to enter the Lung, Stomach, Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Large Intestine meridians, and is often used in Chinese food therapy after childbirth or after an external injury.

Xiang Gu or Shiitake mushrooms are sweet tasting and mild in nature, entering the Liver and Stomach meridians to tonify and regulate Qi, strengthen the Spleen and Stomach, and calm the mind.

Cooked Chinese chives are mildly sweet and warm, entering the Liver and Kidney meridians to strengthen the Middle Jiao, tonify Qi and consolidate Essence. It is a useful food to warm and tonify Kidney Yang. In fact, a very popular dish is Chinese chives stir-fried with kidneys!

Jiu Zao or Distiller's grains are the leftover grains after fermentation to make ethyl alcohol and are coarsely sifted to result in soluble parts and finer grains. The TCM medicinal use of Jiu zao has been recorded for hundreds of years in the Ben Cao Gang Mu / Chinese Materia Medica. It is warm in nature, spicy and sweet, and enters the Stomach, Liver, and Kidney meridians. Its traditional Chinese medicine functions include warming the Middle Jiao, relieving Blood Stagnation and dispersing Cold.

Main Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Grouper/Garoupa fillet
  • 8 g Hong hua/ Carthamus tinctorius/Safflower
  • 10 g Hei Mu Er/ Auricularia auricula/Black fungus mushroom
  • 4 pc Xiang gu/ Letinus edodes/Shiitake mushrooms (we favor fleshy “flower grade” shiitake)
  • 8 oz firm Tofu
  • ½ c Dried distiller’s grain with solubles (DDGS)
  • 75 g Chinese chives
  • 2 c chicken, fish, or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs Cooking oil
  • 1 Tbs fresh Ginger juice
  • 1 Tbs Chinese wine (we favor Shaoxing Wine)
  • ½ Tbs Salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs Ginger juice
  • 1 Tbs Chinese wine
  • ½ tsp Salt


  1. Rinse and drain Hong hua. Soak in ½ cup hot water.
  2. Rinse and soak Hei Mu Er until soft. Coarsely chop.
  3. Rinse and soak Shiitake mushrooms if using dried. Discard stems and slice.
  4. Cut fish into 1”x 2” chunks and marinate. (Marinade recipe below.)
  5. Cut tofu into 1” cubes.
  6. Wash and section Chinese chives into 2-inch sections.
  7. Crush distiller’s grain, mix into stock.
  8. Coat fish pieces with flour and sauté in oil in large frying pan until golden brown. Set aside.
  9. Add stock, mushrooms, Hei Mu Er, and Hong hua including soaking liquid to pan.
  10. Bring to boil, then add tofu, salt, white pepper and wine.
  11. Bring to boil again, then return fish to pan. Add Chinese chives.
  12. Lightly saute and serve.


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