Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Caldereta de pescado – Spanish Fish Stew

Calderetas are a kind of traditional stew all around Spain, originally cooked  with local ingredients: red meat inland or fish and seafood in the coasts along with in-season vegetables.

Fish caldereta is another delicious dish from Northern Spain, within the “Atlantic Diet” I first introduced in the Piperrada recipe. Of humble origin, the legend tells that it was traditionally prepared by fishermen on board of fisher vessels with whatever fish they had available, specially those that wouldn’t make the cut for sale and some other basic ingredients, generally potatoes. Although nowadays it can also be found in  fancy restaurants, cooked with expensive fish and seafood, it remains as a healthy, affordable and every-day option in many Spanish households.

Known as caldeirada in Galicia, caldereta or calderada in Asturias and Cantabria, marmitako in Basque Country (prepared with bonito), it is also a typical dish in Portugal. There are as many recipes as towns along the Cantabrian and Atlantic Spanish coast. Today I’m sharing my approach; simple and yet delicious, the trademark combination of Spanish Cuisine.

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Parihuela – Peruvian Seafood and Fish Soup (and a Great Peruvian Restaurant in Madrid)

My first contact with Peruvian food was many years ago,as a teenager, in a multicultural festival held in my hometown and I have loved it since; its spiciness and perfume surprised and captivated me for ever. Years later I broaden my Peruvian food spectrum in some very good restaurants I found along my way; however, I have not cooked it at home very often. That was until last week, when we were visiting some good friends in Madrid and they invited us to a wonderful Peruvian restaurant we enjoyed so much that I later decided it was about time to try some Peruvian cuisine at home.

But first, let’s talk about this great restaurant in Madrid: is called Tampu Restaurante, not to be missed if you happen to live in or visit Madrid! The place has a great quiet atmosphere with soft lights, music and is nicely decorated. The staff is very kind, they recommended options and explained every dish they brought to the table. The menu is very varied including classic dishes from Peruvian cuisine, like  ceviche or ají and also some chef creations customizing Peruvian flavours and textures and mixing them with other cuisines with a fantastic result. Here’s what we had, everything was delicious, but the duck was definitely my favourite!

Back at home, I decided to start with a soup, of course: Parihuela, a very appreciated seafood and fish soup cooked in a fish broth perfumed with a variety of Peruvian chilli peppers (ajíes). My main concern was to get these sort of chillies, because as I read, trying to replace them with other chillies won’t work. Fortunately, the Arabic grocery store where I usually get some supplies (mainly spices) also has a Latin American section where I found everything I needed. I stocked up, as usual, with everything Peruvian I could find for this and future recipes. I bought:

  • Ají Amarillo paste: made of an orange chilli pepper (Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum), quite pungent. One of the most relevant ingredients to Peruvian cuisine since Inca times, used on a daily basis as a sauce or dish ingredient. Cultivated all around the country*
  • Ají Panca paste: made of a deep red chilli pepper (Capsicum chinense), very mild, also widely used in Peru in sauces and as a spice. Cultivated in the coast*
  • Ají Rocoto paste: made of a yellow or red chilli pepper (Capsicum pubescens), with high pungency. Is the key ingredient in the cevivhe, the Peruvian national dish. Grown in the Andes region, is typical from Arequipa cuisine*
  • Achiote paste: made of the seeds of a subtropical shrub (Bixa orellana) used as a flavour and colour additive in Latin American cuisine. Also known as anatto
  • Culantro paste: made of a herb native to South America. It belongs to the same botanical family (Apiaceae) as cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) but is a different species (Eryngium foetidum)

*Source: The Chile Pepper Institute Newsletter, Volume VI, Number 3, Fall 1997. http://www.nmsu.edu/-hotchile/index.htmIE-mail: hotchile@nmsu.edu

I think you should be able to find these ingredients in any Latin Store, or sometimes big supermarkets have international food sections with Latin products as well.

And now, let’s cook!

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