When I was growing up, this delicacy made with the ugliest fish I’d ever seen was a speciality of my father. He is a devoted sailor and amateur fisherman, and we spent our summers in the seaside village of Bayramoğlu, an hour from Istanbul. He’d go out on the water all day in his small boat, and come back with a catch that always included scorpionfish. They are bony and hard to clean, so there’s no point trying to turn them into fillets. Best to cook them before you remove the flesh.
Like many Turkish soups, this is enriched at the end with a terbiye —a word that translates as ‘teaching good manners’. The basic ingredients of a terbiye are egg and lemon, sometimes with yoğurt or flour added. Old-school chefs would call this ‘binding’ the soup, but we prefer to say we’re polishing it to perfection.