xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Trinidad Fish Broth (Fish Brof)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trinidad Fish Broth (Fish Brof)

Fish Broth is a delicately flavored, traditional Trinidadian soup made with fish, various vegetables including root veggies, garlic, herbs and satisfying dumplings (or pasta).

 You have probably heard of chicken soup for the soul, well here is fish broth( pronounced "brof") for your soul and everything else. Men in my culture seem to be fascinated by this one pot meal and demand it (or make it themselves) regularly, which makes me wonder if it possesses the secret elixir to help reclaim energy, vigor and vitality.

Now allow me to gripe, the last time I saw this being made in TnT, the cooks were eager to add “flavored soup” and margarine. Please avoid these ingredients. It is wrong to take such a healthy meal and destroy the “healthy” factor. Luckily, my share was set aside before the MSG was added! The use of adequate fresh herbs will more than compensate for the absence of the flavor enhancers. Give it a try and regain your health!

Don’t be dismayed or discouraged by the long list of ingredients here. The ingredients are simple, easy to find and you probably have most of them already...and the broth really comes together in no time. It can serve a crowd or can feed a family of four for two meals, if you are into left overs.

This "fish brof" is light enough to enjoy all year round. It’s great the same day, but I seem to enjoy it even more the next, after all the flavors have had time to meld ("love up" each other).  

It is important to adequately salt this dish. I added about 4 teaspoons! It will definitely taste bland without enough salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add a pat of butter to replace the margarine that is traditionally used. I never use butter or margarine and don't miss it!

Ria's Trinidad Fish Broth (Brof)
Serves 6-8

2 pounds firm fish (slices or whole small fish) (Croaker, Snapper/Red Fish)
Juice of 1 lime, for washing fish
3 quarts water (12 cups), add more or less depending on the amount of veggies you use
1 large potato, peeled and quartered (about 3/4 pound)
1-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 2 pounds)
2 green bananas(figs), peeled and quartered
1 medium carrot, sliced
6-8 ochroes, tops removed
3 small eddoes(yautia), peeled (about 1 pound)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced in 1-inch pieces
1 medium tomato, sliced
1 hot pepper, whole
4 sprigs thyme (If very small use more!)
3 tablespoons organic ketchup, plus more to serve
3 tablespoons lime juice, plus more to serve
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Green Seasoning
6-8 large culantro (also called bandania) leaves, minced
6 large cloves garlic
4 large scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)

Flour Dumplings
2 cups all purpose flour, preferably organic unbleached
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
Water for kneading (about 3/4 cup)

Peel, wash and cut veggies, slice tomato(not shown) and onion. 
Leave root vegetables immersed in water to prevent them from getting black.
Try to cut veggies evenly. I did add a little cabbage too, but that is optional!
I used two kinds of sweet potatoes. You may also use other kinds of ground provisions, also called root vegetables.

Mince culantro (bandania), garlic and scallions in a food processor or blender.
If using a blender, add 1/2 cup water or enough to get it blending..

Soak fish in water and the juice of a lemon for a few minutes, check for scales, rinse and drain.

Season fish with salt (1 teaspoon), black pepper(1 teaspoon) and half of the green seasoning, reserve the other half. Marinate fish for 1 hour or overnight.

Bring water to boil in a large pot with a cover over high heat. Add onion, potato, sweet potato, green bananas, carrot, eddoes, onion, tomato, celery, thyme, whole hot pepper and the reserved green seasoning to the boiling water.

Bring to a boil again, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are fork tender but firm, about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size and amount of vegetables used.
Season to taste with salt (I used about 4 teaspoons, maybe more) and freshly ground black pepper (I used 1 tablespoon).

While the vegetables are cooking, make dumplings, if using. [Alternatively, you may use 1-2 cups uncooked pasta.] In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Gradually add water to make a firm dough. Pinch off small pieces and roll between the palm of your hands to shape.
Feel free to make into any shape or size or just "pinch and drop"! Tastes the same!
[My kids always enjoy making the dumplings!]

Add fish to pot. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not stir.

Add dumplings, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until dumplings are cooked, about 10 minutes.

Add ketchup and juice of a lime for additional flavor:---In a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons ketchup and 3 tablespoons lime juice, mix and add to pot-sometimes I also add extra minced garlic and culantro. Stir contents of pot gently to mix. Check for salt and adjust to taste, again.

Remove whole hot pepper and sprigs of thyme before serving.

Serve hot in large bowls with extra ketchup, lime juice and sliced hot pepper on the side for everyone to adjust the taste according to their preference.

Don't forget to serve with additional small bowls in which to place the fish bones...Watch out for those bones, eat carefully and enjoy!

Hope you give it a try and please let me know how it turns out! If you have any questions, please email me or post a comment below and I will try my best to respond right away!

Cooking with love,


saradipity said...

Hello Ria, It's been a bit since I've had time to read your recipes, but you certainly have a winner here.....I love it. What type of fish do you use in your recipe? I must admit, our recipes do differ as I have a few additional ingredients in my "fish brof" (no MSG for sure).

Another fabulous recipe and wonderful pictures!!!!

Cooking with Ria said...

Hi Sara! This was quite a challenge as I considered every ingredient ever used...but I had to narrow it to a few to make it doable, delicious and affordable...didn't want to use an overwhelming amount of ingredients.....but it's definitely flexible..I use croaker or snapper....or whatever I find at my fish market! Thanks so much for your comments!

Cooking with Ria said...

just finished making this fish broth and its awesome...i grew up with fish broth and there are many variations but yours is awesome, Thanks so much for th recipe.

Cooking with Ria said...

This fish broth is awesome. I used a fish called spanish mackrel, it was fairly firm and not a lot of bones. Thanks very much for sharing

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