Here’s a Russian favorite. Ukha, sometimes also spelled as Uha, is a Russian “fish soup” which is mostly just fish broth. The story goes that Russian fishermen would prepare this soup in the woods on open fire using the day’s catch.
The recipe is loose but revolves around making the fish broth. Almost any kind of fresh water fish can be utilized, but small, young fish are more common. We used store bought perch that was only gutted, not scaled or beheaded. Tried to keep things authentic but convenient at the same time.
- 7 medium sized perch
- 2 large yellow onions
- 1 large carrot
- 2 potatoes
- 1 head of garlic
- Celery/leeks (optional)
- Whole black peppercorns
- Bay leaf
- Ground dill
- ½ cup vodka (to make it more Russian)
Since ukha is fish broth based soup, you don’t actually eat the fish you boil. However, we wanted to keep some of the fish for the final product, so there are additional steps involving scaling the fish which can be ignored.
Firstly, get your fire going.
Prep vegetables for the broth. Wash but do not peel one of the onions and the head of garlic, peel the carrot.
Wash the fish in cold water. Scale and cut up the fish you want to use for the actual soup and set aside. Drop the remaining unscaled fish into a metal pot and fill with water. If you are using small fish, consider using a mesh gauze or cheese cloth to hold all the fish to make taking them out of the pot later easier.
Place the pot over the fire and allow it to come to a boil.
Add the unpealed onion, head of garlic, and carrot, salt and pepper. Let the broth simmer for at least 40 minutes. If you have more fish, you can boil them in batches to make the broth richer. Use the down time to dice up the potatoes and the remaining onion. Taste check the broth well into the cooking, to make sure there’s enough salt.
Fish out the onion, garlic, fish and discard.
Fish out the carrot and dice it. Add the potatoes and cook until soft. Add the carrots back into the broth along with the fish for consumption. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
In the meantime, fry up the diced onions in some butter until golden brown. Add the onions into the soup along with remaining ingredients. The Vodka is more for show, the alcohol will quickly evaporate from the soup. Let it cook for a few more minutes.
Serve hot alongside your other Russian favorites.