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This recipe is based on a soup of like name served to me at a lovely outdoor restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya in August, 2016. I amended it to add shrimp and mussels, for more texture and flavor, but the soup can be prepared with a just a firm white fish as well. Simply adjust the cooking time as appropriate. The flavors are subtle and rich. —David Prescott
- olive oil
- sesame oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and diced
- 10-12 fresh cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-6 spring onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- small red pepper, finely diced
- zest of one lime and thin slices for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups fish or shrimp stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 15 oz can of coconut milk
- 1/2 pound firm white fish (cod, tilapia, or similar) cut into 3/4" dice
- 10-12 mussels
- 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of saffron (optional)
- cayenne pepper for spicier flavor (optional)
- In large saucepan, saute shallots, ginger and red pepper in a tablespoon, more or less, of hot mixed oil until soft. Do not brown.
- Add fish stock, white wine, coconut milk, cilantro, bay leaf and lime zest. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes to blend flavors.
- Add fish pieces and simmer 2-3 minutes more, covered. Fish should be not quite cooked through.
- Add shrimp and simmer 2 minutes more, covered. Do not over cook shrimp.
- Add mussels and simmer, uncovered, until they are open, 2-3 minutes. Fish and shrimp should be cooked through by this time. If not, simmer until fish and shrimp are just done, but do not overcook.
- If using saffron, stir in a few threads, crushed between your fingers. Salt and pepper to taste.
- If using cayenne, stir in desired amount to spice soup to your liking.
- Serve immediately, alone or over basmati rice, garnished with 1 or 2 thin slices of lime. A mixed green side salad with balsamic dressing will go well, too.