This recipe is for what I will call a lazy Ukha soup. The traditional Russian Ukha is laborious and time consuming. In the original recipe the chosen fish is stripped from the bone, then, only the head and fish skeleton are cooked to prepare a fish bouillon. This bouillon is sieved to get rid of the bones and only then used to cook the vegetables and the actual fish.
Our low carb Ukha skips many of these steps and tastes just as good, even without the potatoes. We bought pre cut fish from our local Asian grocery store in Jackson Heights – Pacific Supermarket on 75th st and Broadway; they have a large selection of fish and other East Asian produce. Ultimately, our Ukha takes about half an hour to prepare and is relatively simple. It is also super healthy and low carb.
Ingredients (Yield ~ 6 servings):
1 fillet of cod (~1 – 1.5 lbs)
2 medium pieces of halibut steak with skin and bone (~1.5 lbs)
1 medium peeled and diced onion
½ large diced pepper (any color)
2 peeled and sliced medium carrots
2 ribs of diced celery
2 medium fresh tomatoes (cut into eighths)
1 Tb of fresh parsley (= 1tsp of dry parsley flakes)
1-2 small Bay leaves
2-3 seeds of Allspice
Just a pinch of Old Bay seasoning
Just a pinch of hot red pepper powder
Salt to taste
Optional: 1 cube of fish stock, ~ 1 Tb olive oil and/or 1 Tb of butter, fennel bulb, squash, kohlrabi, parsnip or parsley root, other types of fish – but not too bony, like red snapper or flounder).
Take a large pot and fill half way with water ( 6-8 cups). Heat water on medium. You can add a cube of fish stock for taste. In the meantime, dice your chosen vegetables and let them simmer for 15-20 min. You can also add half a fennel bulb to replace the potato. This time we didn’t have fennel and added squash instead. Squash cooks quickly so we added it later, together with the tomatoes.
Rinse the fish and cut the halibut steaks in half with a sharp knife as well as the cod fillet into 3-4 pieces. When the vegetables you’ve already added have half cooked (after 15-20 min) add the rest – tomatoes, squash and the fish. Raise your heat to medium when adding these new items and quickly drop back down to a simmer when they start boiling. When adding the fish be careful to submerge the pieces fully so they cook evenly.
Add parsley and seasonings at the end, to taste (don’t forget the Old Bay is salty). Also, the fish takes about 5-7 min to cook.
The only advice as you enjoy your Ukha – be mindful of some bones from the Halibut :).