Ginger Fish Soup

Ginger again, and yet again. The subtle flavour of fresh fish congenially blends with the rich but soothing essence of ginger. It must be said that ginger and fish were first married, as it were, at a time before refrigeration, when a ‘fishy’ smell was not uncommon and the ginger was employed to assuage or cover it. However, today’s food storage and marketing advances allow us to enjoy both the fresh fish and the pure ginger flavour.

And the ginger is not alone here: this soup offers a wide spectrum of delightful flavours. The fish cooks quickly and the ensemble is a satisfying starter for any meal. Very Thai, very pleasing to the palate, and nutritious as well.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless, firm white fish fillets, such as cod, sea bass or halibut
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) homemade fish or chicken stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 or 2 fresh red Thai chillies, seeded and finely shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground 5 pepper or black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 whole spring onions, finely shredded
  • 5 sprigs fresh coriander

Method

Cut the fish into 5 cm (2 in) pieces.

Peel the lemongrass stalk to the tender whitish centre and crush it with flat of a knife. Then cut it into 7.5 cm (3 in) pieces.

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer and add the lemongrass. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Then add the ginger, shallots, garlic, chillies, salt, pepper, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer for 1 hour over low heat. Remove the lemongrass with a slotted spoon and discard. Now add the fish fillets, cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Finally, stir in the spring onions and fresh coriander sprigs. Ladle into a large soup tureen or individual bowls and serve immediately.

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