Portuguese Fish Soup Recipe

Portuguese Fish Soup

Visiting Portugal last year I was able to enjoy the ubiquitous Caldeirada do Mar, a Portuguese fish soup. There is no strict recipe, you can be creative and pretty much execute your own ideas. I choose to give it an African touch by adding a bit of Piri-Piri, the hot pepper originally from Mozambique but now widely used in Portugal and Brazil. It gives the soup an extra spark. A sprinkle of cilantro (coriander leaves) on top and you have a winner! Crusty bread is a good accompaniment.

Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 lb (450 g) firm-fleshed fish, like sea bass or monkfish, cut into 1 1/2 inch (3-4 cm) dices
  • 1 lb (450 g) squid, cleaned and cut into rings, tentacles included
  • 12 large raw shrimps, peeled and de-veined, or clams or a mix of both
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1 inch (2,5 cm) dices
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper cut 1 inch (2,5 cm) dices
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • a pinch of Piri-Piri or to taste (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup (340 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) cubes
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and cut into coarse dices
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
  • 2 cups (1/2 L) clam juice or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaves), finely chopped, optional


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, red pepper until soft about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, smoked paprika and Piri Piri (optional). Continue cooking until garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and cook until bubbly.

Add the clam juice or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Taste for salt and pepper. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the fish, squid, shrimps or clams, cover and cook until squids are opaque, shrimps have lost their raw color and clams have opened. Take care not to overcook, 3-5 minutes should suffice. Taste for seasoning.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro (coriander leaves), if you like.

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