• Peruvian seafood soup (parihuela) (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

Fragrant, spicy and loaded with seafood, parihuela is Peru’s answer to bouillabaisse. Food Safari Water






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (9 votes)


  • 1 plate-sized bream, about 600 g, cleaned and scored (or any seasonal fish, cut into 180 g pieces)
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp aji Amarillo paste (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp aji Colorado paste (see note)
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 185 ml pale lager beer
  • 16 mussels, cleaned
  • 8 pippies
  • 8 scallops in the half shell
  • 300 g baby calamari, cleaned and cut into 5 mm rings
  • 2 tsp cornflour dissolved into a little cold water
  • handful coriander sprigs and lime wedges, to serve


  • 4 green prawns
  • 1.5 kg fish heads and bones (Jorge used ½ blue eye cod head)
  • 1 blue swimmer crab, cleaned and cut into quarters
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped 
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh oregano and tarragon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the stock, peel the prawns and reserve the shells. Remove the top shells of the crabs, then remove and discard the feathery gills and cut the bodies into quarters. Reserve the peeled prawns and crab bodies for later. Place the prawn shells, crab shells and all the remaining ingredients into a large saucepan or stockpot.

Add 2 litres of water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the impurities as it simmers. Strain the stock and discard the solids. Return the stock to the pan and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Strain again through a very fine strainer.

Dust the fish in flour and season with salt and white pepper. Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and gently lower in the fish.  Fry for about 4 minutes on each side – you just want to cook it three-quarters of the way at this point. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil and garlic in a large wide frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic. Add the onion and both the yellow and red chilli pastes and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the tomato and cook, stirring frequently for another 3 minutes or until aromatic. Add the crab pieces, beer and a ladle of the fish stock.

Add the fried bream and place the mussels and pippies around it. Gently bring to the boil and season with salt and white pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the scallops, prawns and baby calamari. Season again, cover and cook for a further 2 minutes. Check for seasoning, add another ladle of stock - cover and cook for another 30 seconds.

Spoon the cornflour slurry into the liquid and gently shake the pan to thicken the sauce. Garnish with coriander and serve with lime wedges.



• Aji Amarillo paste is made from dried yellow Peruvian chillies, while aji Colorado paste is made from dried red chillies. Both are available in jars from Latin delicatessens.  


Photography by Alan Benson.

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