Fermented Fish Soup Recipe: Fish That Isn’t Fishy



Notes: Please let me know how you and your family like this recipe! As it’s my own invention, please don’t publish it without permission. (WordPress “reblogging” is fine.)

I was shocked to find out how quickly this barely-cooked fermented soup was eaten by my family. When I created the method, I assumed I would be the only one eating it. I guess the magic of fermentation is that you don’t have to contend with fishy or meaty flavors in your fish and meat, so it’s actually more attractive to picky eaters when done right.

If you like pickled herring, you will probably enjoy this soup.

If you prefer spicy foods, kimchi can easily be substituted for sauerkraut.

We ate this too quickly to get a picture, sorry!



First phase:

Mason jar/s with plastic lid/s
1 bowl
One paddle or spoon
Kitchen shears or fish knife
Cutting Board (Glass is best)

Second Phase:

Clean Bowl
Soup pan
Cooking thermometer
Stirring Spoon


Clean bowl
Your usual Sous Vide setup

Preparation Time:

About 20 minutes preparation
3 weeks fermentation (passive)

Cooking Time:

About 15 minutes


Fermentation Stage:

Several Fillets of Swai (about 2-3 fillets per pint jar you plan to fill)
Several Spoonfuls traditionally prepared Miso Paste (about 2 per pint)
Several Spoonfuls Sauerkraut with Juice (About 3 per pint)

Cooking Stage:

Several Spoonfuls Bacon Grease, tropical oil, or other animal fat (About 3 per pint)


Fermentation Stage:

Wash the fish. Cut it into pieces about 50% larger than you want to put in your mouth.

In the bowl, gently mix the paste with the sauerkraut juice. Add the sauerkraut and mix with paste.

Add the fish and gently coat it with the paste and sauerkraut mixture.

Pack fish mixture into the jar, including all the paste and sauerkraut. If necessary, add water to fully cover the fish and bring the brine up to the top of the jar.

Tightly close the lid, wash the outside of the jar, and refrigerate for 3 weeks. You may burp the jar once per week (open the jar and then immediately close it tightly again.)

Note: Unlike fermented fruits and veggies, fermented fish does not traditionally need to be left in a warmer place for a few days before chilling. In fact, it is not recommended. However, if you have a fermentation fridge set to around 50 degrees F, that is acceptable. Traditionally, fermented fish was stored in caves, cellars, or underground.

Cooking Step:

3 weeks later, wash the jar again and set it inside a clean bowl. Open it (juice may run off.) Smell the fish to make sure it’s a nice clean sour taste, and nothing “off.” If it smells good, you may add water and eat the fish soup raw; or you may cook it. (However, if you eat it raw and something goes wrong and you get sick, of course I can’t take responsibility.)

If you are cooking the soup: heat the soup pan, and add the fat to the pan. Continue heating the fat until it’s completely liquid and a drop of water dances when dropped in; do not allow to smoke.

Add half the contents of the fish jar, including any juice spilled in the bowl, to the soup pan. Immediately begin to gently stir.

After a minute or two, before the fish is fully cooked, remove the soup from the heat. Serve immediately with rye bread and honey on the side.

Note: How can you tell it’s time to remove the pan from the heat? Here are some signals.

    1. The liquid is barely starting to steam.
    2. A chunk of fish feels hot in your mouth, but you can still touch the fish briefly with bare fingers.
    3. A thermometer inserted in the soup liquid reads 102-105 degrees F (it feels hot, but a human could still survive with a fever this high.)

Alternatively, you could cook this sous vide at 102 degrees F; however, end cooking as soon as the soup broth reaches target temperature. This soup is an almost-raw food. It is tender and easy to chew, whether raw or slightly cooked.

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