Whatever your weather, you'll want more of this soup!
It's hardly surprising that many traditional Fiji ingredients come from that well-stocked larder, the sea. Large and small fish, crustaceans, sea urchins, octopus, together with many sea plants are daily fare for coastal islanders.
Cooking methods are simple, as most Fijians don't have modern appliances. For Sunday lunch and special feasts, fish is wrapped in leaves and baked in a lovo, or earth oven. For me, nothing can beat the smoky edge the lovo imparts to food. But for everyday meals, fish is usually boiled. Both methods result in succulent fish.
Nothing is wasted in Fiji, so the water and seasonings the fish is boiled in is relished as a delicious and nutritious broth. In this recipe, coconut cream combines with the marrow from the fish bones to produce an outstandingly thick and rich soup to warm even those in arctic climes. Variations of this soup are found throughout the Pacific islands. Why not try adding your own favourite spices, herbs and garnishes?
Please tell me how your soup turns out!
A word on fish bones
I've included an optional "from scratch" recipe for stock, but don't let the fish heads and bones put you off! You can make this recipe successfully in under 15 minutes using quality canned fish stock and coconut cream from your supermarket.
Creamy Fiji fish soup with coconut
500 grams firm white fish fillets, cut in bite-sized pieces
6 cups (1.5 litres) fish stock (see below for “from scratch” instructions, or use quality canned fish stock)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
a few chilies, chopped
grated fresh ginger to taste
2 cups coconut cream
shallots or chives, chopped fine for garnish
Add fish, chillies, ginger and lemon juice to stock. Simmer gently for a few minutes until the fish becomes opaque and tender. Stir in the coconut cream carefully until smoothly blended. Do not allow the soup to boil at this stage. Adjust seasoning and add garnish.
Fiji-style fish stock “from scratch
500 grams (or more) fish heads & carcasses
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper plus whole peppercorns
1 large onion
halved chilies to taste (optional)
Bring ingredients to boil in a large pan and simmer gently with lid on for about 45 minutes. Skim periodically. Pour everything through a fine strainer and discard solids. Adjust seasoning.
1 large onion
ground pepper and whole peppercorns.
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I look forward to hearing from you!