Fish pepper soup

The fish pepper soup is one of different broth base soups from West Africa. For this recipe, the fish is cooked in already made chicken and beef stock and spices and herbs added to this awesome soup.

The preferred choice of fish is the catfish but I do not find them where I live so I use either tilapia fish or salmon which are great alternatives.

It may not pass for the typical comfort food but for many from that region, this soup has very sentimental value. It is served piping hot to people recovering from illness, new mums and serve as appetizer or part of a main meal with yam at big gatherings.

Nigerian fish pepper soup, Nigerian food,

The ingrediets commonly used as spices are the African nutmeg, alligator pepper,  similar to the cardamom spice with dark brown pods. Other ingredients are the Ethiopian or Negro pepper called in some parts of Nigeria as uda seed, with very peppery, acidic and slightly bitter taste. Dried ginger and cloves are other spices added. These spices are blended together into a special spice blend that differs from one tribe to the next. 

The pepper soup spice mix is a major ingredient but you do not have to worry about putting the spices together yourself as most African food grocery shops carry ready to use packaged pepper soup spice mix.

How to cook fish pepper soup in pctures

Fish Pepper Soup

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 15min

Cooking Time: 30min


  • 3 Meduim size Tilapia fish
  • 2 litre chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons of dry grounded crayfish
  • 3 Teaspoons pepper soup spice mix
  • 1 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of any dry herbs of your choice but my preferred options are bitter leaf flakes(from African food shops), dried scent leaves, dried parsley or cilantro flakes
  • Salt to taste


Try my chicken stock recipe. For great result, I combine 1 litre of chicken stock and 1 litre of the West African stock for additional flavour. Also it gives me a little bit of offal like the tripe and cow feet for a great experience. Of course, ommit the latter and stick to the chicken stock if tripe, cow feet or oxtail is not your thing.

Clean and cut fish into convenient sizes. I get about three pieces per fish. Salt and add pepper all over the fish and set aside in fridge untill it is ready to be used

Transfer the chicken stock to a pot and bring to a boil for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat.

Now transfer already seasoned fish and the rest of the ingredients to the boiling stock cooking on medium low heat until fish is cooked which would take about 15-20minutes depending on appliance used.

Serve piping hot with any drink of choice.

Leftovers would stay in fridge for 2-3 days and freeze for up to a month.

Recipe provided by

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Did you know that including fish at least three times a week in your diet is part of a healthy diet. Oilly fish like salmon is high in long-chain omega 3 fatty acid which is great for your heart.

Also eating baked, boiled (like this fish pepper soup), steamed fish is healthier than eating fried fish.       

Source: NHS

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