When you think about home-cooked, comfort food, the first thing that comes to mind is fresh fish pepper soup!
Have you ever tried catfish pepper soup?
If not, you are missing out!
It’s soothing, delicious and nutritious.
Although it’s a Nigerian delicacy, it is loved by people of all ethnicities, around the world.
In Nigeria, you can get your hands on the catfish pepper soup quite easily at any bar or restaurant; however, the name on the menu might not be the same.
Catfish pepper soup is popularly known as point and kill, in Nigeria. To find out why it’s called the point and kill, keep reading.
Can’t find this delicacy being served near you?
Want to learn how to prepare catfish pepper soup within the comfort of your home?
Are you away from home?
Did you have a fish soup at a Nigerian friend’s home which you just can’t seem to forget?
If you nodded to even one of the questions above – you are in luck, today!
Because today we are going to share the perfect catfish pepper soup recipe that takes only a bunch of ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare.
How to Prepare Catfish Pepper Soup?
Catfish pepper soup although takes just a few ingredients to make, it requires the utmost attention to detail to get it just right!
Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
– Use either fresh or smoked catfish.
– Clean the fish thoroughly. Although it sounds simple, many people fail to do this the right way, due to which the soup doesn’t come out as expected.
– Use a small pot to make your soup.
– Don’t over-season your soup.
Not that we are clear, let’s head to the ingredients for catfish pepper soup.
- 1 to 1.5 kg of catfish
- ½ cup of ground crayfish meat
- 2 medium-sized red onions
- 5 scotch bonnet pepper
- 1 tsp white pepper or 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp of fish seasoning
- 1 tsp ground pepper soup seasoning
- 2 Utazi leaves
- 3-4 scent leaves
- 1 large or two small stock cubes
- water – enough to soak all ingredients
- Begin by gathering all ingredients together. Fish takes less than 15 minutes to cook, there are fish that takes even less time than that, but catfish specifically takes no more than 20 minutes. So we only have that small a window to flavour the soup. Hence it is necessary to gather and prepare all ingredients beforehand.
- Begin with cleaning the fish. When you usually purchase a fish, the seller descales and cuts them according to your requirements. So place the precut fish pieces in a bowl and pour hot water that is near boiling, over them. This will help remove the slimy outer skin of the catfish and any presence of bacteria present on it. Another reason for doing this is firming up the fish meat so that it doesn’t break and fall apart when it’s put to boil. You can repeat the process twice if needed. Although font overdo it, or you will end up with removing all of the skin and overcooking the fish.
- Next, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Slice the onions, utazi and scent leaves. Ground the stock bonnet pepper along with crayfish, with either a mortar and pestle or give it a quick blitz in a chopper. Mix all seasoning together in one bowl.
- Now in a small pot, add in the precut, cleaned pieces of catfish. Followed by onions, crayfish, stock cubes and all the seasoning. Add enough water to soak and cover all ingredients of the pot and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Note: the reason for using a small pot instead of a big one is so that it takes less liquid to cover the fish. Less liquid means the soup will have intense flavours instead of mild and mushy ones. A smaller pot will also mean that no more flipping the fish upside down so that it cooks thoroughly from all sides. And as we know, the more we touch the fish, the more chances of breaking and falling apart.
- Once it all comes to a boil, add the sliced leaves and cook it for another 8 minutes.
- At this point, you can add any flavour or spice you like, but make sure to not over season it, or you will lose the authentic taste of catfish pepper soup. Many people enjoy adding paprika, while some like their soup white and use white pepper instead. So it is all about what flavours you prefer more.
Note: Do not stir vigorously when adding seasoning, as it may result in breaking the fish into pieces. Use a wooden spatula to lightly stir, occasionally. If you keep the water levels right, there is a chance that you might not even need to stir them. But in case you see seasoning, leaves or any other ingredient gathered in one corner, make sure to mix it.
Serve as is, or with a side of steamed rice. Either way, it’s going to leave a mark on your taste buds.
Whether you are feeling homesick and want to remanence the taste of home with some catfish pepper soup, or you want to try this delicacy without having to travel all the way to Nigeria, this recipe will deliver that exact taste served in Nigeria.
Why Is The Catfish Pepper Soup, Often Referred To As ‘Point And Kill’?
Well in Nigeria catfish pepper soup is commonly known as point and kill in almost all bars and restaurants. The reason being that when you go to a restaurant and order this particular variety of pepper soup, you will be taken towards a tank of fish, from where you will be asked to point and choose the particular fish you want to be served. It will be taken out in front you and killed before starting to prep it for soup. Hence, Point and Kill.
This is to ensure that the customers are served fresh fish pepper soup each time they order.
It also eliminates the doubt of being served stale or overcooked fish.
Other Varieties Of Pepper Soup:
Pepper soup is a common and widely popular variant at homes in Nigeria. The most common of them being catfish pepper soup, mainly because there is an abundance of catfish in the region.
But other than catfish, this soup is often made with cow tail and goat meat, which taste equally yum.
How To Get Rid Of The Fishy Odour?
If the odour of fish doesn’t sound palpable to you, it’s either because you have not yet developed a taste for seafood, or you just wholly loathe it. There’s also a possibility that you had a very stale fish and the smell of it has stayed with you.
I’m saying this from experience. If you find the smell of fish too intense or unbearable, then chances are that it is far too old to be consumed.
The one thing all fish lovers and seafood lovers will vouch for is that you get used to the smell eventually. There is a time when the smell doesn’t bother at all.
Now there a few ways you can try to get used to the fishy odour:
– Use the freshest possible fish you can find.
– Look for a smoked variety of fish. Or maybe smoke it at home, before using it to make a dish.
– Wash thoroughly with hot water.
– If hot water alone does not suffice, use 2 parts water with one part vinegar.
– You can also rub the fish with lime, this will cure the fish and rid some of the smell.
– Rubbing it with loads of salt, followed by a quick rinse, also results in odourless fish.
How to know if the fish is fresh?
Fresh fish looks, smells and feels fresh.
Yes, there is a three-step test that I always do to check when buying fish.
– The flesh of the fish should be soft and not rigid. Upon touching, it should bounce back in place. If a bump forms where you have pressed the fish, pass because chances are the fish is stale.
– The fins and gills of the fish should look pinkish-red and should not be hard and brittle to touch, and the eyes of the fish should be bright red and bulging.
– The fish should not smell too bad. The actual smell of fish is mild – it smells more like the sea. If there is a smell that is too strong or overpowering, it is an indication that fish has started to rot.
Now that you know everything from buying fresh catfish to preparing the best catfish pepper soup, it’s time to start cooking!
Having tasted the Nigerian version of the catfish pepper soup, how about comparing with those from other regions? Here is another recipe for how to prepare smoked catfish pepper soup.