Portuguese Fish Soup

Portuguese Fish Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Caldeirada do Mar is a deluxe version of a traditional Portuguese fare for which there is no strict recipe. The addition of Piri-Piri, the hot pepper originally from Mozambique but now widely used in Portugal and Brazil, gives the soup an extra spark. A sprinkle of cilantro on top and here is the winner! A crusty bread and a glass of dry white wine is a good accompaniment.


  • 1 lb (450 g) firm-fleshed fish, like sea bass or monkfish, cut into 1 ½ inch (3/4 cm) dices
  • 1 lb (450 g) squid, cleaned and cut into rings, tentacles included
  • 12 large raw shrimps, peeled and deveined, or clams or a mix of both
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1″ (1/2 cm) dices
  • 1 medium-size red pepper cut  into 1″ (1/2 cm) dices
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • a pinch of Piri-Piri or to taste (optional)
  • 1 ½ cup (340 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 in cubes
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, peeled and cut into coarse dices
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
  • 2 cups (500 ml) clam juice or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped, optional


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions, red pepper until soft about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, smoked paprika and Piri Piri (optional). Continue cooking until garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and cook until bubbly.

Add the clam juice or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Taste for salt and pepper. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the fish, squid, shrimps or clams, cover and cook until squids are opaque, shrimps have lost their raw color and clams have opened. Take care not to overcook, 3-5 minutes should suffice. Taste for seasoning.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro, if you like.

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