Moldovan Fish soup with Corn Groats
At home, we used to call it "borscht with groats". It's the soup recipe we have from my grandmother - absolutely delicious, sour, aromatic and usually served with Mămăligă - Moldovan Polenta.
I had a big problem with the recipe. I knew of it, I remembered its taste but not the steps. I tried to improvise a couple of times. The result was similar, but still not the same as my grandmother's. Until I had the idea of visiting my aunt (she still remembers some of the things my grandmother used to do). Of course, I found the mistake and, this time, the soup turned out perfectly.
My father had this dream to eat soup with corn groats just like his mother used to make. Well, when I made the correct recipe (in the pictures below), after the first spoon, he was impressed and very happy. So was I because I managed to "resurrect" another old and traditional Moldovan recipe, with memories from my childhood time spent with my grandmother.
you can also use pieces of whole fish, head, tail or fish which is too small to prepare otherwise
in Romanian, it's also called "păsat" - it's the hulled corn grain, bigger than cornmeal
preferably, good quality, homemade
Step by step
First we make the soup base - the fish soup.
Bring two liters of water to the boil with the pieces of fish, 1 pepper, 1 carrot and 1 onion - all whole.
When it comes to the boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
After this time, pass the soup through a strainer - so that you don't have any surprises and bones in the soup.
Pour the sour borscht into the strained soup (taste and adjust the degree of sourness, it should normally be very sour). Yes, that's the recipe, pour the borscht in the beginning, before boiling the grits and the vegetables.
Place over heat and let simmer.
Meanwhile, wash the grits thoroughly, finely chop the carrot and pepper, optionally, one tomato.
We won't be using many vegetables in the soup, so as not to conceal the specific fish taste.
When the soup and the borscht start to boil, add in the vegetables and the groats. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the bones from the fish, tear into pieces and return to the soup.
Optionally, you can make a tomato and onion roast for soup. Cook one onion in a little oil, then add a finely chopped tomato or tomato paste.
When the vegetables are done (don't be afraid if the carrot stays a bit crispy, it's supposed to be like this), season with salt, add half an onion and parsley, finely chopped.
Right after this, turn off the heat and let the soup infuse for about 10 minutes.
Usually, it's served with polenta. The second course is usually fried fish with 'mujdei' (garlic sauce) and polenta again (you make the soup from the fish heads and tails and fry the rest of the fish).