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Julia Child's Seafood Bouillabaisse

I was at a French restaurant in Changi with my hubby. I have been wanting to try a seafood stew and so I ordered a serving of Seafood Bouillabaisse. The waiter actually asked if I had one before and knew what I was ordering. Well...well... I think he was being nice but It didn't come fro that way or rather a bit rude. So out of spite, I decided to cook Seafood Bouillabaisse in the same week. I was naughty lah...

Seafood Seafood... There is this love-hate relationship with seafood. They are sweet and delicious but not that easy to cook as toughen up when over-cooked. I often choose to steam, deep-fry and stir-fry seafood. I would love to make a quick seafood soup.

I browsed through Julia Child's books and learnt that Bouillabaisse orginated as a "simple, Mediterranean fishman's soup, made from the day's catch or its unsaleable leftovers". The fish chosen from this soup should be firm-flesh so it does not flake off too easily. However as we know, food evolve and the simple dish is made into a dramatic production of luxurious seafood soup.

Recipe (Serves about 6)


Soup base

  • 450g Yellow onions, chopped

  • 85g Leeks, chopped

  • 4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

  • 450g Ripe tomatoes, chopped

  • 6 Parsley sprigs

  • 1 Bay Leaf

  • 2 Thyme sprigs

  • 1/8 tsp Fennel seeds

  • 2 pinch of Saffron

  • 1 piece of 2 inch Orange peel

  • 1 kg Fish head, bones and trimmings (I use salmon)

  • 1.5 litre of Water

  • Olive Oil

  • Pepper and salt


  1. In a medium pot, cook onions and leeks in olive oil over low heat until onions are translucent.

  2. Add in garlic and tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

  3. Add in water, herbs, seasoning and fish bones.

  4. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.

  5. Strain the soup base and transfer to a new pot.


  • 500g Salmon or any firm fish fillet, sliced thickly

  • 300g Prawns, shelled and deveined with head intact

  • 500g Clams, washed thoroughly

  • 300g Mussels, washed and beard removed

  • 300g Scallops, deshelled

  1. Boil the soup base.

  2. Add in salmon and prawns and cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Add in the rest of the seafood and boil rapidly for 3-5 minutes. The shellfish should open up when cooked. Do not over cooked.

  4. Serve hot.

I am throughly impressed yet again by Julia Child. The soup was sweet and light. Way better that the restaurant I went. If I were there again, I would say "Not only I ate Seafood Bouillabaisse before, I cooked it too!".

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