Fish Pepper Soup – A quick and easy robustly flavored African Fish Soup .
It is that time of the year again, for those of us that observe the Lenten Season. During this period we Catholics are obligated to abstain from meat on Fridays until the Easter season. This is one of my go to recipes that I make on Lenten Fridays – a really light yet intensely flavored peppery soup.
A soup that is widely enjoyed in most West African Countries and I would say a soup that can lead to so many variations.
If there is one recipe that I switch up each time is pepper soup. It all depends on availability of spices and my personal preference for that day.
What is inherent in pepper soup is the hot pepper; of course, the rest is up to the cook.
The basic ingredients that you need to enjoy pepper soup is hot pepper, onions, garlic, ginger then the list goes on with ethnic spices that range from Lemon grass, Njangsa, ehuri (African Nutmeg) Negro pepper, Alligator pepper to more universal spices like allspice, cumin, curry, fennel seeds and some fresh herbs. My favorite herb to use is basil, specifically Thai basil (when I can get my hands on it). It is slightly spicy and has licorice anise flavor and pairs beautifully with fish.
With most pepper soup, it is preferable to add the spices along with the meat. But since fish is so delicate I do it differently. Add the fish the last 10-15 minutes before turning off the stove. You may blend all the spices, boil for about 10 minutes add the fish and simmer for another 10 minutes depending on your fish.
Fish Pepper Soup – A quick and easy robustly flavored African Fish Soup.
- 2- 2½ pound white firm fish cut in desired pieces
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 or more hot pepper chopped or whole scotch bonnet, chili
- 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons or more diced celery
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3-4 leaves basil chopped
- 1-2 green onion chopped whites and green parts
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 teaspoon bouillon powder
- Ethnic spices listed above optional
Heat a saucepan with a about 1 tablespoon of oil add garlic, ginger, bay leaf, paprika and hot pepper sauté for about a minute.
Throw in onions, celery, white pepper, green onions, bouillon powder and any other spices. Continue stirring for another minute.
Add about 3-4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add fish, basil and salt. Continue cooking until fish is cooked (about 10 minutes or more). Add water if necessary
Adjust seasonings, thickness of soup with water and spices. Remove bay leaf
Serve with boiled green plantains, rice or own it’s own.
Place all the spices (except bay leaf) in the blender or food processor. Pulse until everything is puree.
Place in a saucepan with bay leaf then, add water about 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add fish bring continue cooking until fish is cooked. Discard bay leaf, add water if necessary.
Adjust for seasonings and thickness. Serve warm.
- Add the fish the last 10-15 minutes before turning off the stove. You may blend all the spices, boil for about 10 minutes add the fish and simmer for another 10 minutes depending on your fish.