In this recipe, I will be explaining how to cook fish soup or fish sauce to achieve the popularly preferred thick consistency without using tomato paste as thickener.
Fish Sauce or Fish Soup Recipes
In Nigeria, fish soup, fish stew or fish sauce are used interchangeably.
Although there is a difference between Nigerian fish soup and fish stew or fish sauce which I will be explaining as I continue. But for easy understanding, I will be using these words interchangeably.
Also, this recipe may be too spicy for people who do not like spicy food because of the amount of scotch bonnet peppers used.
The reason for this is, as a Nigerian and also a Yoruba person, one thing that distinguishes we Yoruba people is our love for spicy foods.
In view of this, if you do not like spicy foods, please reduce the amount of scotch bonnet peppers you to be used when cooking with this recipe.
This soup or stew is so versatile that many Nigerian households always have it in their kitchen because it is easy to cook, and it also makes meal planning easy.
It makes meal planning easy because it can be easily to be combined with other soups and food to achieve a balanced meal. Below are some popular combinations and accompaniments for fish soup in Nigeria.
Popular Fish soup/Fish sauce combinations
- Fish soup with Gbegiri and ewedu to eat amala. Ewedu Soup Recipe
- Fish stew with rice and moi moi- preferably white rice
- Fish stew and Okro to eat Eba also called Garri
- Fish stew and ogbono soup
- Fish soup with efo riro and fufu
- and many more
Suffice to say, fish stew is a must have especially for people who love to eat fish.
Now I will explain the little difference and the similarities between fish soup and fish sauce or fish stew
Difference between fish soup and fish stew
In Nigerian cooking, what differentiates fish stew from fish soup in the preparation.
For fish soup, the tomatoes, onions, and peppers are blended together to a smooth paste before cooking while when preparing fish stew the tomatoes, peppers and onions are roughly blended such that you can still see the onions. peppers and so on.
Now that the difference has been explained, the major similarities are as follows.
Similarities between Fish soup and Fish sauce or Fish stew
As earlier stated, Nigerians prefer to have their soups with semi thick consistencies hence the use of tomato paste which serves as a thickener.
So, the consistency of Nigerian fish soup or Fish sauce/stew is usually semi thick and never watery.
Another similarity is the use of tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, bell peppers, and onions.
Now that the similarities and differences have been explained, listed below are the ingredients used to cook fish soup and after this is the detailed explanation on how to cook fish sauce without using tomato paste as thickener.
Nigerian fish soup ingredients
- 1 Blue whiting Fish – Use any fish of your choice
- 30 small sized tomatoes
- 4 bell peppers (tatashe)
- 10 scotch bonnet peppers (ata rodo)
- 3 small-sized onions (alubosa)
- 6 cayenne peppers (shombo)
- 1cup Groundnut oil (peanut oil) – you can also use red palm oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Seasoning powder or Seasoning cubes
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup of water
How to cook fish soup
- If you are using a fish with scale, ensure that you properly remove the scales and then cut the fish into small pieces
- Get a bowl of water and put the cut fishes in it
- Clean the fishes properly by removing the intestine, gills and fins
- Clean the fishes at least 2 to 3 times in fresh clean water
- After cleaning, put the fishes in a basket to drain out the water and set aside
- Pour tomatoes and peppers into a big bowl and add enough water to clean them
- Do this at least 2 times in fresh clean water before setting aside
- Peel the onions skin to reveal the inner flesh and clean with water as well
- Put the cleaned tomatoes, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, scotch bonnet peppers and onions in a blender
- Add some water and blend to a semi-smooth paste then set aside
- Rinse the inside of your clean pot and put it on your cooker, cooker should be on high heat
- Add 1 cup of groundnut oil and allow it to heat up briefly – you can use any preferred cooking oil of your choice.
- Pour the blended tomatoes and pepper paste into the hot oil
- Add salt, seasoning powder/seasoning cubes, curry, thyme
- Mix well and add the cleaned fishes
- Stir gently and cook for 20 – 30 minutes or till you achieve your desired soup thickness
- Fish sauce or fish soup is ready.
Many people use tomato paste as thickener because they do not want to cook for a long time till the liquid evaporates and the soup become semi thick as preferred.
So here is the hack for achieving semi-thick soup without tomato paste
- Use less water – while blending the tomatoes, peppers and onions use less water because tomatoes already have high liquid content. The easy way to do this is to first put the tomatoes into the blender and after adding the other ingredients for blending add a little water to jumpstart the blending process. After the blending process starts the tomatoes at the bottom will be the first to be blended and the liquid from the tomatoes will make it easy for the blender to continue without you adding more water.
- Use bell peppers – Bell peppers popularly called tatashe by the Yorubas is acts as a thickener in soups. The more tatashe you add the faster it is to get you fish sauce to thicken.
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