Kakavia fish soup

Kakavia fish soup

The Islands of Greece
Steven Joyce

This is a very old recipe, found all over the Greek islands, for a fish stew originally made by fishermen as a way of using up fish that are too small to sell. Use whatever seasonal and sustainable fish or seafood you like the most.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
300g potato, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1 ripe tomato, seeded and grated, skin discarded
1 red mullet, gutted
2 lemons, juiced
freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs parsley
1 courgette, chopped into bite-sized pieces
200g clams, cleaned
200g mussels, cleaned


  1. Get a wide pan (wide enough for the whole fish) hot over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and sauté the leek, carrot and celery for about 10 minutes, gently and without colouring.
  2. Add the potato and grated tomato to the pan, then add ¼ teaspoon of salt and the remaining olive oil. Place the mullet on top of the potatoes, then pour in 350 ml of hot water, the lemon juice, some black pepper and the parsley sprigs. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Remove the mullet from the pan and discard the parsley. Gently pull the flesh from the bones of the fish. Discard the bones and keep the fish warm.
  4. Add the courgette to the pan and cook for 5–7 minutes, until just beginning to soften.
  5. Check over the clams and mussels. Discard any that are broken or open and will not close when firmly tapped.
  6. Ensure the stew is simmering and add the mussels and clams to the pan. Clamp on the lid and cook for 3 minutes. Discard any shells that haven’t opened after this time. Return the warm fish pieces to the pan and serve immediately, with plenty of crusty bread.
The Islands of Greece
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