Fish sauce and nutty palm oil flavor this luscious stew, undoubtedly a predecessor of Louisiana-style gumbo. This recipe first appeared in our May 2012 issue along with John O'Connor's story A Feast For All.
Fish sauce and nutty palm oil flavor this luscious stew, undoubtedly a predecessor of Louisiana-style gumbo.
Yield: serves 6-8
FOR THE VEGETABLE BROTH:
12 cups fish or vegetable stock
4 cups thick-sliced okra
3 bay leaves
2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
FOR THE SEAFOOD SOUP:
6 tbsp. palm oil
4 tbsp. fish sauce
1 large eggplant, cut into large chunks, or 4 small Thai eggplants
2 habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles, slit in half lengthwise
24 mussels, cleaned and debearded
16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cooked white rice or fonio, for serving (see below for ordering)
Make the vegetable broth: Bring the stock to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat, then add okra, bay leaves, and onions. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until okra is very tender and stock has reduced by one-quarter, about 1 ½ hours.
Make the seafood soup: Add the palm oil, 3 tbsp. fish sauce, eggplant, and chiles to the vegetable broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened and okra falls apart, about 30 minutes.
Add mussels and shrimp; cover pan, and cook until mussels open and shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes.
To serve, remove from heat and stir in remaining fish sauce and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, and serve with rice or fonio.
Fonio is available via mail order from Nawel Keur Mame Asta Walo Halal Meat & Poultry Grocery (call or visit: 219 West 116th Street, New York City, New York; 212/222-7900)