I’m remembering my visit to an aunt and every time I was at her place, she was always cooking fish and oil with peppers. I never understood for the life of me what she was eating until she explained that it was fisher man soup. My aunty is from Bayelsa and Fisher man soup (which is different from the “Native soup”) is predominantly made and eaten by the people who are from the riverine areas of Nigeria like Bayelsa, and the other Cross riverine areas. (A little history)…According to the different people I asked, Fishing has always being a dominant profession in the riverine parts of Nigeria and the fishermen eat most of what they catch. In the early days the fisher men with the little palm oil they carried with them would make soups out of their catch and sometimes eat it with roasted yam. According to my sources, the people of these areas love their seafood and liken their soups to good sex…well I won’t dabble too much into the sexual aspect as we are keeping it Pg. I have to say though, apart from the act of wooing :), this soup is just one more thing these folks have perfected
There are several recipes for this soup, some people add tomatoes and pepper, some people add only pepper etc. I like this variation better as it is quick and easy. I skipped some steps, like removing the fish from the pot and adding your thickener. I do not see any need for that as it’s a messy process and could break the fish. I am not a Lazychef for nothing :)) I like to cut the cooking process in the kitchen when necessary.
There are different types of fish that are good with this soup such as Tilapia and cat fish. I always used Tilapia until I learnt how to properly clean cat fish. I never liked the slimy skin but one quick trick in my recipe works wonders. You may also add any sea food you like to your soup. For this version, I used fish, crabs and prawns. Any seafood should work
This soup has become one of the staples in my home and can be served with fufu, rice, eba, yam or even boiled potatoes.
What you will need
I whole cat fish; cleaned, gutted and cut into steaks(medium-large)
I medium to large Onion
Half a pound of shrimp crayfish
palm oil about 40mls(add more if you want to)
1 habanero pepper or ata-rodo
1 finger cayenne or chili pepper
1 bell pepper
A hand full of garri for thickening(make sure it is soaked)
salt to taste
1 tsp dry pepper
A hand full of chopped basil or scent leaves
!On how to clean cat fish steaks look here
*To cook soup:
put fish into a pot
roughly or smoothly blend all your peppers and pour over fish(some people use tomatoes, I never do). Slice your onion into the pot. Add your dry pepper, palm oil and crayfish. Season with salt and bouillon. Pour hot water into the pot without flooding. Just right to the top of the fish then cover pot and on medium heat, bring soup to a boil. Let it cook for about 10 minutes Once the fish is almost done, check to see if the soup is thickened; then add your prawns. If the soup is still watery, add your soaked garri along with the prawns and shake the pot to combine. Do not cover the pot. Let the prawns cook until they have turned a good shade of pink. Your soup should be thickened at this point. Garnish with Basil or scent leaves and. Let soup rest for 10minutes before serving
*Please do not stir the soup, so that you do not break the fish. Always shake the pot to combine the ingredients. If using crabs, add them right before you add the shrimp and let them cook for a few minutes.