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Posts Tagged ‘fish’

I was looking through my pictures from Vietnam, and started thinking about the fragrant broths I enjoyed there. This recipe draws inspiration from those, but it is by no means authentic. But it turned out quite tasty!

Ingredients
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 cm piece of ginger,  sliced
100g carrots, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
200g onion, thinly sliced
1 tbls vegetable oil
1000ml chicken stock
100 ml water
1 tbl fish sauce
300g cubed fish (Abel and Cole’s fish pie mix)
garnish: chopped spring onion, coriander, basil, garlic, chilli

Put carrots and salt in a small bowl, rub the salt on the carrots and set the bowl aside.

Put peppercorn, cloves, star anise and ginger in a pot and roast them on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetable oil, stir for a few seconds and then add the onions. Lower the heat to medium and fry until light golden, stirring constantly to ensure the onions do not burn. Add the stock, water and the fish sauce, bring to a boil and let the broth simmer for 15 mins. Add the fish, cover with lid and turn the heat as low as it goes.

While the fish cooks, rinse the carrots thoroughly and put them in a bowl. Divide the garnishes into small individual bowls or plates.

When the fish is cooked (should not take longer than few minutes), serve the broth immediately  with the carrots and the garnish selection – everybody can add as much or as little as they like.

Serves 2 as a light main, 4 as a starter.

Note: Be careful with the fish sauce, it is very strong. Add just a little at first and taste.

Tip: You can make this more filling by putting some cooked and rinsed rice noodles in the soup bowls and ladling the broth over them.

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My apologies – the Soupwoman has been distracted by holidays and other forms of busyness, not to mention serious bouts of being just plain lazy. I hope this recipe makes up for it!

Ingredients
1 tbls rice bran oil or other vegetable oil
150g chopped onion
2 cloves on garlic, minced
1 medium fennel, chopped (200g)
1 chopped red chili
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 l water
1 can chopped plum tomatoes
400g of firm white fish, such as pollack, cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 tbls fish sauce (nam pla)
salt to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, fennel and chili, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add turmeric and coriander, and stir. Add water, tomatoes, and lemongrass, bring soup to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are done.

Add the fish into the pot and cook for a few minutes, so that the fish just done. Remove lemongrass stalks, if you can find them, and serve.

EDIT NOTE: After some consideration, I decided chopped onion works here better  – it’s much more pleasant to eat in a soup than stringy bits of leek! The recipe is updated accordingly.

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Continuing the fish theme, this is an adaptation of the traditional Laplandish salmon soup. Simple ingredients but very tasty, if I may so myself. I have been thinking about replacing the smoked paprika with saffron, but I have been too cheap so far.

Ingredients:
300g mixed fish, cubed, e.g. Abel&Cole’s fish pie mix
40g butter
200g onions, chopped
400g potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tsp tomato puree
900ml fish stock
5 white peppercorns
100–200ml cream
2 pinches of smoked paprika
fresh herbs of your choice, e.g. parsley from the fish pie mix

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add onions and sautee for a few minutess on a medium heat. Add potatoes and tomato puree and sautee another few minutess. Add the fish stock and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes are done. Add the cream, smoked paprika and the fish, bring to a boil, cover with lid and turn the heat to minimum. Do not let the soup boil. The fish should cook in a few minutes. Garnish with herbs and serve with bread.

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Eating is not just a simple excercise of filling your stomach anymore. It is about choices more profound than whether you feel like some nice pasta or hearty casserole for dinner.

To begin with, to be ethical about food was simply to shun meat. Those who felt they could not live on rabbit food alone often chose to complement their diet with fish, and for a long time fish was considered to be both healthy and ethical by default.

Then all of a sudden you found yourself hesitating at the local chip shop, remembering vaguely hearing something about the Atlantic cod being overfished. Or was it haddock? Was there anything on the menu that you could eat with a clear conscience?

Now the issue has gone upmarket. According to Charles Clover, the editor of the UK’s first online seafood restaurant guide www.fish2fork.com, now that 90% of the world’s large fish have been wiped out since 1950s, ordering fish in a restaurant is one of the world’s great moral dilemmas.

Delicious! But is it ethically palatable?

Delicious! But is it ethically palatable?

While supermarkets have made progress in getting endangered fish off their shelves, they remain on the menu at fine restaurants, who have avoided attention so far. But not anymore. Fish2fork’s survey of more than 100 top restaurants in Britain found that nearly 9 out of 10 were serving at least one “fish to avoid” from overexploited stocks.

It is a rather shocking realisation that while “everybody” is concerned about the fate of exotic animals such as giant panda, white rhinoceros and snow leopard, somehow the depletion of fish stock, and the rapidly falling levels of many familiar fish have hardly registered in the public consciousness. Maybe the familiarity is partly to blame – how could we possibly run out of cod? Fish also lacks the cute factor – there is nothing fluffy and endearing about bluefin tuna, perhaps the most endangered of them all.

This does not mean we should stop eating fish completely. There are still plenty of sustainable options, if we go to the trouble of finding out what they are. Fortunately, Marine Conservation Society has made that easy for us, providing comprehensive information on their FISHONLINE website. But we cannot just sit back and ignore the state of the oceans. What we choose to eat has consequences. That is something to think about the next time you sit in a restaurant, looking at the menu, trying to make up your mind.

The documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing, The End of the Line, written by Charles Clover, premiered at Sundance Film Festival

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