Spicy Fish Soup

Like many New Zealand families, snapper has been a firm favourite of ours for several years.

While fishing offshore and hosting many overseas trips, it is always great to come home and target some good old Kiwi snapper. While we all have our favourites, it is the snapper that heads the list for many.

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They are reasonably plentiful and they, along with kingfish, are a staple target species for our NZ charter clients as well as our family fishing. Snapper lends itself to full utilisation, with one fish potentially providing more than one meal.

In the Spicy Fish Soup recipe below, I sometimes use fish stock if I have it available, made from the frames of previously caught and processed fish. I will put excess fish stock into the freezer in smaller lots, bringing out what I need when I need it. Vegetable stock off the shelves will also do the job if you don’t have the fish option at hand.

This recipe is ideal for a winter’s day and is a family favourite. The amount of ‘zing’ can be controlled by the amount of chilli paste used.


• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 1 litre (4 cups) fish or vegetable stock

• 1 tsp chilli paste – add more if desired

• 1 400g can chopped tomatoes

• 1/2 tsp sea salt

• 1 tsp fish sauce

• Juice and zest of one lemon

• 500g snapper, cut into chunks

• 300g prawns, peeled and deveined

• 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

• Lemon zest and parsley for garnish.


1) Place a wok or large pot on high heat and add the olive oil, onion and chilli paste. Fry for 4-6 minutes until fragrant.

2) Add the stock, canned tomatoes, salt, fish sauce and lemon juice. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more chilli paste if you like more spice.

3) Add the fish and prawns to the soup. Stir gently to combine. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat back to medium and continue to cook until the fish is opaque and the prawns are cooked through – approx. 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.

4) Add the cherry tomatoes, lemon zest and parsley. Stir gently to combine and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

5) Serve the soup between four bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest. ENJOY!

August 2023 - Bea Bagnall
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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