Dalmatian fish soup OR Dalmatinska riblja juha (i riba leso)

Coast near Pag bridge, Dalmatia

We are a family of fish lovers. – No, we are a REGION of fish lovers! But who could blame us, with the sea like this? 😀 And yes, it is precisely the sea that miss most now that I live away from home, other than family and friends, of course. I miss long relaxing walks by the sea, its ever-changing beauty, and its amazing bounty. My family love fish; in fact, I don’t know a sea creature we don’t love, except for the fact that I’m not too keen on squid if it’s not in risotto, or brudet (a type of fish stew eaten with polenta), but that’s another story.  

Dalmatian fish soup

Right now I’m craving for a simple, comforting fish soup, the way we prepare it in Dalmatia. Here are some photos and the recipe. This is another one of those posts prepared during the summer, that didn’t make it into the blog earlier.




Dalmatian fish soup   OR    Dalmatinska riblja juha (i riba leso)


SOURCE: My Grandma and Mum’s recipe


COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min

CUISINE: Croatian




1.5 kg fish (we used mol, which is hake in English – Thanks, Tea!)

a little olive oil


a few cloves of garlic, chopped

a bit of celery leaf

water as necessary

chopped parsley

1 large or 2 medium carrots, grated  (optional)


a few handfuls of rice


1. Cut the fish into portions, if you are using big fish. Add olive oil, salt, garlic, celery leaf and add enough water to cover the fish. Don’t add too much water, because it will weaken the flavour. Cover and boil until the fish is cooked. The fish is cooked when the meat becomes soft and white.

2. When the fish is cooked, take it out of the pot and reserve the stock. Leave a little bit of the liquid with the fish.

3. Add fresh chopped parsley, more garlic, carrot (optional) and rice to the stock, and cook until the rice is soft.

Dalmatian fish soup

Serve the fish soup as the first course, and the boiled fish as the second course. A simple side dish of boiled potatoes goes well with the fish, or some salad. My mum puts extra chopped garlic and olive oil on the table for people to help themselves to eat with the fish. We eat it like this: we take a piece of fish and put some of its liquid over it; then add a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle it with fresh garlic and sometimes parsley. I looove dipping bread into this!

Riba leso

fish soup collage



This recipe is a part of the event Teach a Man to Fish – the Sustainable Seafood Event. Go to Leather District Gourmet for a truly fantastic round-up, containing lots of useful advice and brilliant fish recipes!


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Leave a comment


  1. Absolutely beautiful…me being a ‘fishy’ person too, am going head over heels with this recipe…thanks for sharing.


  2. Ajme…uh…LESO RIBA!!! Ovo mi izgleda ko rep od mola, jeli?
    Uh, sto bi sad rado…a juha tek. Ovo je jedna od najboljih stvari koje postoje. Kad kazes da jedete sve iz mora, jesi kad probala vlasulje?? 😉


  3. This looks and sounds very comforting. My family loves seafood very much, especially fish and prawns. I grew up on a small island (Singapore) so we were spoilt for choice.


  4. p/s: thanks for dropping by my blog. Now I’ve discovered your blog. Your family recipes are treasures – thanks for sharing.


  5. Looks like my comment got lost…anyway I was saying the soup looks and sounds wonderful in this weather


  6. Aah! A two-in-one recipe! How wonderful. I love fish, and I’d love to try this recipe.


  7. Oh lovely – I can just imagine dipping some crusty bread into the juices. And very healthy too!

    p.s the sea looks very beautiful on your photograph Maninas


  8. SUNITA, glad you like it! Do try it and let me know what you think!

    TEA, je, to je rep od mola! znas li mozda kako se kaze ‘mol’ na engleski? pitala sam muza ali veli da ne zna.

    ok ok ipak ne jedemo sve iz mora. 🙂
    ne jedemo ni morske krastavce. ipak, vidila sam neki recept i za njih na blogoferi! 🙂

    NORA, thanks for dropping by. I enjoy your blog, too!

    Singapore sound like an amazing place. I read a guide to it in Food and Travel recently. That, and a very good friend from Singapore make me want to visit it even more! 😀

    LYRICAL LEMONGRASS, do try it and let me know what you think! 😀

    SOPHIE, thanks!
    It is a very healthy recipe, yes.


  9. NABEELA, I don’t know what happened to your comment, as I didn’t receive it, and it’s not in my spam folder either…


  10. woa … the sea looks so beautiful !!! what a fantastic place to live in.Even i would miss it if i were away frm it. And i have a grouper in the fridge, i was planning to make it for dinner but didnt know how.Now i have a recipe. Thanks.


  11. Hi Kate!
    I’m not normally a nostalgic person, I would happily live anywhere – save somewhere really cold! Can’t do cold. brrrrrrr However, I do seem to have a thing about water: I’m happiest when I’m near some water, preferably the sea, but a river will do! 🙂

    How was you grouper? 🙂


  12. Hake 😉


  13. Puno fala, Tea! 🙂 Hug!


  14. I love the custom of having the soup and the fish separate , in addition to the garlic and olive oil bath!


  15. Me too! :))))


  16. I like fish soups a lot and it is a pity that I did not taste Croatian style fish soup when I was in Dalmatia. It seems to be much lighter than French fish soups or bisque d’homard (however, I like them, too).


  17. roger

     /  16 September, 2011

    This is one of the best dishes I have had in a long time! Pass on my regards to your Mum. Since I, like you, live far away from the coast, though I grew up near the sea, I had to use frozen fish for the recipe. With frozen trout, and with slight modifications in cooking technique based on this site, http://www.cookitfrozen.com/home.html, I had a wonderful meal. Thank you!!


  18. roger

     /  16 September, 2011

    and your grandma!


  1. It’s a Wrap! Teach a Man to Fish - the Sustainable Seafood Event Concludes « The Leather District Gourmet
  2. The best carrot soup ever! « Maninas: Food Matters
  3. Celeriac soup « Maninas: Food Matters
  4. Croatian picnic in London « Maninas: Food Matters
  5. Spiced carrot and caramelised onions soup « Maninas: Food Matters

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