Fisherman's Soup - Best of Hungary

Fisherman's Soup

Fisherman’s Soup is a traditional Hungarian soup from the Szeged region, prepared by fisherman over open fires along Hungary’s riverbanks. Experienced fishermen who know the art of preparing this dish insists that it must be prepared immediately after the catch using assorted fish, both small and large. Carp, bass and starlet are always included. All fish are scaled, cleaned and cut into broad strips. Small fish are placed into a deep kettle or bogracs first, followed by alternate layers of onion slices, carp and bass. Salt, paprika and water are added. While the soup is cooking, the fishermen shake the kettle from time to time to prevent the fish from breaking apart. Only the best fish from the top layers are eaten, with the small fish at the bottom serving only to enrich the flavour.

Fisherman's Soup

This traditional fish soup can be replicated indoors with this simple recipe.


4 lbs assorted fish – carp, pike and bass

3 onions sliced

1-2 litres water

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tsp hot paprika

1 fish bouillon cube

2 tsp salt


Clean and wash fish in cold salted water. Cut onions into large slices. Cover bottom of kettle with one layer of onion slices then add a layer of fish. Alternate in layers using the remaining onion slices and fish. Add 1-2l of water to kettle to cover contents. Brig to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Season the fish with paprika and salt. Cover the kettle and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until fish flakes can be separated with a fork into thin, layer-like pieces. Shake the pan gently from time to time during cooking, do not stir. Remove fish from kettle with slotted spoon to a large serving bowl or soup tureen. Strain broth over fish and serve hot in bowls.

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