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Fish Soup- Romanian style

This Fish Soup- Romanian Style is a basic traditional sour soup recipe from the southern part of Romania. People from that region live close to the Danube River. Therefore fish is very much part of their diet. Add lemon juice or a little bit of vinegar at the end for more authenticity.

fish soup in a white bowl

I am not sure how popular a fish soup would be out there, but for the Romanians, this soup is considered a wonderful meal.

Having the Danube River as a border with Bulgaria and the Danube Delta close to the Black Sea, many people who live in that part of the country eat fish quite often, as it is wildly available.  

What kind of fish is good for soup:

You can make soup from any fish. In the Danube Delta, people use sturgeon, carp, catfish, pike, bluefish, perch, and other small fish like anchovies or mackerel.

Everything that the Danube river or the Black Sea offers goes in the pot.

You might wonder why they combine different types of fish in the soup. Well, first of all, you know that each fish has a different flavor, right?

Throwing different types of fish in the pot makes the soup more flavorful, delicious and a complete meal by itself.

Romanians use the head and the tail of the bigger fish to make soup and reserve the meaty part for frying or making a stew.

However, just because we do not have fish heads and tails to make a soup(which I am not a fan of, anyway), this should not stop us from using fish that we enjoy.

Personally, living in Minnesota, it isn’t easy to find variety in stores when it comes to fish, and I always end up using tuna or cod as it is more available.

This type of fish tastes more “meaty” to me than tilapia, for example, and closer to what I know to be the taste of a delicious fish soup.

To make a good fish soup you need quality ingredients and that starts with fresh or frozen fish, the best you can put your hands on. Make sure the fish is cleaned properly, with no scales or guts, and washed well in cold water.

Let’s talk about the vegetables that go into this fish soup:

This soup is not creamy or thick. It is more like a vegetable soup with pieces of fish in it. You can make this soup using bigger parts of fish or chopping the meat into bite-size pieces, based on your preferences.

  • Onion – You have the freedom to choose any type of onion you like, from green onions to white, yellow or red. I like them all and use what I have available.
  • Carrot, parsley root, parsnip– they all bring the flavor.
  • Red, yellow, or orange pepper – your soup will be not only delicious but colorful too.
  • Celery root or green celery – both bring lots of flavor to the soup.
  • Tomatoes– fresh are better, but if you have only diced tomatoes in a can, use them.
  • Optional: Potatoes– this is not a mandatory ingredient, but some versions of this soup have it.
  • Lemon juice or vinegar – if you choose vinegar, use anything you have available, except balsamic vinegar. I like to use apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar or red/white wine vinegar is good too.
  • Parsley- the original recipe calls for lovage, a very aromatic herb that is very popular in Europe. However, parsley is perfectly acceptable if you do not have lovage available.

How to make fish soup:

Step 1. Prepare the vegetables.

Vegetables for soup0

Wash, clean, and chop all vegetables. Make sure they all have about the same size so that they can cook at the same time. They should look something like this:

Carrots and celery

Step 2. Saute the veggies.

In a soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and sauté the onions, root vegetables, peppers, and tomatoes just enough to develop their flavor.

Add water or fish stock, also the potatoes(as they are optional) and let the vegetables simmer until cooked.

Note: If you add water, make sure you add some salt to it. If you use fish stock, it is probably already salted.

soup cooking in a soup pot

Step 3. Add the fish.

fish in cubes

Add the fish you cut into cubes or left in bigger chunks and cook for another 10 minutes. Remember that the fish cooks really fast, so there is no need to overcook it.

Taste for salt again and add the vinegar or the lemon juice. You can skip the vinegar, but you need to know that Romanians always say that a fish soup is better if it’s a little bit sour.

If you do not like the vinegar, add some lemon juice instead. Add the chopped parsley or the lovage.

lovage leaves

Serve warm with a hot pepper, if you like that, and some good rustic bread.

fish soup

Other recipes with fish:

Pan Fried Fish

Fresh Baby Spring Greens Couscous Pecans Salad With Grilled Salmon

Spanish potato salad (Ensaladilla Rusa)

Spanish Cod In Tomato Sauce

47 Best Salmon Recipes

Check the web story for this recipe: Fish Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Fish Soup- Romanian style

fish soup in a white bowl square

This Fish Soup- Romanian Style is a basic traditional sour soup recipe from the southern part of Romania. Add lemon juice or a little bit of vinegar at the end for more authenticity.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 -2 medium carrots chopped
  • 1/2 large red yellow or orange pepper or 1 medium chopped
  • 1-2 celery sticks chopped or 1/2 celery root cubed
  • 1-2 medium potatoes cut in cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced or 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 16 ounces fish(tuna, cod etc)
  • 8 cups water or fish broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon juice or 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 bunch of chopped parsley(or lovage)


  1. Chop onions, root vegetables, pepper, and tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Add vegetables and saute them until they become translucent, just enough to develop their flavor.
  4. Add water, salt, and pepper to taste and optional the potatoes and simmer the vegetables until cooked, for about 20 minutes.
  5. Cut the fish into cubes and add it to the soup.
  6. As the fish cooks quite fast, simmer the soup for no more than 10 minutes.
  7. Add the juice of one lemon or vinegar.
  8. Add the chopped parsley or lovage.
  9. Serve warm with some crusty good bread.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 350mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 24g

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