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

Fragrant, spicy and loaded with seafood, parihuela is Peru’s answer to bouillabaisse. Don’t be tempted to omit the Peruvian chillies and paste from the recipe, as they lend unique and extremely fruity notes to the base of the soup.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (61 votes)


  • 1.5 kg fish heads and bones
  • 600 g white fish fillets such as snapper cut into large pieces
  • 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) white wine or chicha de hora (see note)
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp red chilli pepper paste (aji panca) (see note)
  • 3 dried yellow chillies (aji mirasol) (see note)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra, to serve
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra, to serve
  • 16 mussels, cleaned
  • 8 clams
  • 300 g calamari, sliced into ½ cm thick rings
  • 200 g green prawns
  • 200 g green prawns, peeled, tails intact
  • 8 scallops

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.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Place the fish heads and bones in a stock pot and cover with 2½ litres (10 cups) cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain.

Place the flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Place a large frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and fry the fish, in batches, for 1 minute on each side until golden but not cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and tip out all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomato, paprika, hot chilli paste, dried yellow chillies, bay leaf and oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until aromatic and the mixture starts to darken. Increase heat to high, pour in the wine and cook for 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add the fish stock, coriander and parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the mussels, clams and calamari. Cook for 1 minute, add the unpeeled prawns and reserved fish and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the peeled prawns and scallops, remove from the heat and allow to poach for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and extra herbs.


• Aji mirasol, aji panca paste and chicha de hora are all available from Latin food stores.


Photography by Alan Benson