Winter Warmers - Week 4 - Fresh Fish Pepper Soup - Nigeria

It has been a very cold winter in many parts of the world this year. Nigeria has not been spared with an unusually cold Harmattan season with temperatures dipping below 20 degrees, an unusual occurrence in many parts of Nigeria. Harmattan season otherwise known as the Nigerian winter usually occurs between December and February due to cold-dry trade winds blowing from the Sahara desert. This has sent many Nigerians scrambling for winter coats and sweaters in an effort to keep warm. This has inspired me to share my Nigerian Fresh Fish Pepper Soup recipe with you this week. This fresh, spicy and delicious soup is the ideal dish for a cold winter day. It is very popular in Rivers State where I am from. Rivers State boast an abundance of fresh seafood and I have memories of Mum coming home with freshly caught fish from the market to prepare this delicious soup. I hope this dish warms up your day. Enjoy!

Fresh Fish Pepper Soup

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4) 8 cups water or vegetable stock

½ onion (½ cup), chopped finely 3 cloves garlic, minced 8 pods African nutmeg 2 pods African clove 1 teaspoon coriander, ground 1 stalk of lemongrass, cut in 2 lengthwise 2 tablespoons canola oil 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped coarsely 1 pound fresh catfish 1 pound fresh shrimp

Method

  • Roast the African nutmeg and clove in a frying pan over high heat for 1 minute

  • Remove from heat and grind with a mortar, food processor or spice grinder

  • Bring the water or vegetable stock to boil over high heat

  • Add the onions, garlic, nutmeg, cloves, coriander and lemon grass and cook for 10 minutes

  • Add the canola oil, fish and shrimp and cook for 5 minutes

  • Add the basil and cook for 1 more minute then remove from heat and serve hot.

Serving suggestions: Serve with boiled yam drizzled in Palm oil

Tips: African nutmeg and cloves can be obtained in an African grocery store. If unavailable substitute with 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

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