Aromatic Fish Soup (Indonesian) Gule kepala kakap

Aromatic Fish Soup (Indonesian) Gule kepala kakap
If you have bought a whole fish, and have a left-over fish head & backbone, you can make a spectacular meal of the remains, by cooking up this aromatic fish soup.  It is a very popular dish in Indonesia — a country that knows how to make the most of its abundant herbs and spices.

You will need:

  • 2 Tilapia heads — or use a whole fish.
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bruised, cut in 5 cm length
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 green tomatoes, sliced into 4 parts each
  • *5 “star fruit” (carambola bilimbi). Slice in 2 cm length.  *optional
  • 1 organic lemon
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 1 liter water
  • 8 shallots, roasted and peeled. (Roasting adds to the depth of flavor)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 cm piece of turmeric, roasted and peeled
  • 1 handfull of basil (Preferably Thai basil, but any basil will do)
  • 2-3 red chillies, roasted, diagonal sliced

Preparing the soup

  1. Rub the fish head with lemon juice and salt, set aside for ¼ hour.
  2. Put all ingredients, except for the fish and basil, into the water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the fish head, cook until tender. Remove soup from heat.
  4. Add basil, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove basil, and serve soup with steamed rice and additional vegetables on the side.