Grandma’s fish soup

This is a family recipe that takes me back to when I was eight. My grandma made this soup for the whole family. She told me when I was a kid that this recipe reminds her of the days when she cooked in Vietnam. Before she passed away, she gave this recipe to my parents so that they would have a little something to remember her by. Now, whenever I make this soup, it takes me back to my childhood. If you don’t know how to fillet a fish, ask your fish monger to do it for you and save the bones.


1 pound fresh whole salmon, filleted, head and bones reserve (save the bones for stock)
8 cups (2L) water
1 6-inch (15cm) double layered piece of cheese cloth
2 bay leaves
½ bunch parsley stems
4 sprigs thyme
6 whole black peppercorns
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery root (celeriac), finely diced
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 green onions, trimmed, white and green parts finely chopped
1 4-inch (9cm) ginger root, peeled, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt more to taste
2 tsp ground black pepper


Fillet the fish unless you had your fish monger do it for you, then cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces. Set aside.
Lay cheese cloth on the counter, into the center place bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns. Gather the corners of the cheese cloth and tie it with a bit of kitchen twine to make a spice bag.

In a large stockpot, over high heat, add water, fish bones and spice bag. Give it a quick stir, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 min.

After 20 minutes, using a ladle or large spoon skim off the foam, then strain the bones and stock through a sieve into another large pot. Discard spice bag and bones.
Add carrots, celery root, red onion, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, and fish pieces to the stock.
Return to low heat and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

To serve, simply garnish with fresh green onion

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