Fish soup is like chicken dishes in most parts of the world. Everyone has their own recipes and everyone would like to think that they make the authentic, original version. Well, the first recipes disappeared in the mist but there are still distinct variations and hubs for major fish soup types. If you’re adventurous enough and feel the need for some world cuisine, you most probably will literally have to taste the Hungarian fisherman’s fish soup.
Like with all the common recipes this is also a subject to variations and every family holds theirs as the highest secret, but generally speaking we can conclude, that the fisherman’s soup is made with different types of river fishes and a good amount of high-quality dried pepper powder. Other than that, the recipe is up to everyone’s personal taste.
It is most commonly made during the fish season and only using fresh ingredients. The soup is prepared in a sizable kettle next to the river over wood-fire. Other solutions are often used when making the soup at home, but the most commonly accepted recipe states these key elements.
First the chopped onion is added and is caramelized, then it is mixed with paprika powder. Boiled after dilution with water and the fish is added as it starts bubbling. Some of the fish are added as a whole, carp mostly, or in bigger chunks with the bones still in. There is usually another fish minced and simmered to a solid pulp to form the base broth.
Depending on the territory in question, the halaszle, as natives call it, comes in different spiciness levels. It ranges from mild to very hot, and while it is still up to debate as to which one is more authentic, the hot variation seems to be more popular.
Competitions are held annually to decide on the best cook. The winner is usually subject to teasing and is given a traveling trophy. Visitors and tourists may taste every soup for free or for a fee, but before doing so always ask about the spiciness. The more spicy the actual kettle of soup is the more white bread will be needed.
A common beverage offered with this soup is called the froccs, white wine with soda water.
There are other notable fish soup recipes in the world, but Szeged with the hot and fresh fisherman fish soup is one thing to try if you have to choose just one.