Ukha (Russian Fish Soup)

A classic Russian recipe, Ukha is a simple brothy fish soup full of flavor and vegetables. Ukha is simple, quick, and versatile with many possible variations. Here I’m using salmon and bream, but I also love to make it with trout and other types of seafood (like clams or eel) as well. Use what you have on hand.

A bowl of Ukha fish soup with chunks of salmon, bream, and trout with vegetables like carrots and potatoes in a white bowl on a wood table.

You Will Love Ukha, Russian fish Soup

Start by making a flavorful fish stock with all the fish, then add vegetables and fresh herbs to create a delicious and nourishing soup.

If you have any smoked trout or other smoked fish, it is a lovely addition to ukha.

Ukha makes for a fantastic starter course or light lunch.

If you love this seafood recipe, try my Greek grilled octopus and mussels in red wine sauce

If you’re looking for more traditional soup recipes try my German liver dumpling soup, German sauerkraut soup, or grandma’s old-fashioned chicken noodle soup which I make with homemade egg noodles.

Equipment

  • Immersion blender | optional, only if you want to blend the potato into the soup to make it thicker.
  • Heavy stock pot | to cook the soup and stock in.

Ingredients

Russian Ukha fish soup ingredients.
  • Salmon, Trout or Bream or Fish of your choice | I used bream and salmon in this version, but you do have options. You can even add shrimp.
  • Potatoes | Use your favorite potato; russets are a great choice.
  • Onion | I prefer simple yellow onions. Can also use shallots.
  • Carrots
  • Celery | best to get celery that has some leaves still attached, as we will be using them. It’s not a big deal if your celery doesn’t have leaves.
  • Fresh Parsley | parsley is necessary for this soup — and all soups, as far as I’m concerned. Don’t use dried parsley; it is useless and flavorless.
  • Fresh Lovage | optional but highly recommended if you can get it. Vegeta can be a type of substitute for it. Lovage is a perennial herb you need to grow if you have a garden and also love bone broths and soups. It can be difficult to find in grocer stores, and dried lovage is tasteless. If you can’t get lovage, fresh dill is also nice.
  • Olive Oil | adds a light but noticeable flavor.
  • Lemon | fresh lemons add brightness to the soup and stock and pair well with fish.
  • Black Pepper & Salt | to taste.
  • Bay Leaf

You’ll find the exact amount of each ingredient below in the recipe card. Make sure to select ‘cook mode’ to keep your screen from turning off. You can also print the recipe too.

Instructions (Step-By-Step With Photos)

The fish stock being made with a fish head, filet, and bones.

Make fish stock:

In a large pot, bring water to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and add the vegetables: carrots, celery (including leaves if they have them), lovage (including leaves), an onion, and a bay leaf.

Vegetables can be kept whole; they do not require chopping.

Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.

Add the fish and continue to simmer on low for another 20 minutes, covered.

Remove the fish from the water and set it aside to cool in a bowl. Once cooled, shred the meat and discard any bones and skin.

Strain the stock and set it aside.

The vegetables may be composted or fed to your chickens.

Onions and carrots in a heavy stock pot.

Make fish soup:

In the same pot, saute onions and carrots in some olive oil until browned and soft.

Vegetables in a heavy stock pot.

A whole, peeled yellow potato being added to thesoup.

Add the diced potatoes, the whole potato, and half of the fresh parsley.

Add the fish broth you reserved.

Let the soup simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the whole potato you put in is cooked.

Remove the potato along with some broth and use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth.

Add this mixture back to the soup and stir.

This step is optional. It thickens the soup while still leaving behind potato chunks.

Salmon, trout, bream fish meat, cut up into chunks, being added into finished soup.

Chopped lemons being added into finished soup.

Two bowls of Ukha fish soup with chunks of salmon, bream, and trout with vegetables like carrots and potatoes in a white bowl on a wood table.

Simmer until vegetables are completely soft.

Add salt and pepper to taste, tasting the soup as it cooks.

Turn off the heat and then add in the chopped fish meat, half a lemon cut into quarters, and two tablespoons of olive oil.

Allow to stand for 5 minutes, and then garnish generously with the remaining parsley.

A bowl of Ukha fish soup with chunks of salmon, bream, and trout with vegetables like carrots and potatoes in a white bowl on a wood table.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Smoked fish | if you have any smoked fish, add it to the soup for an interesting flavor.
  • Types of Fish | salmon soup or trout soup is delicious, but feel free to add other fish or seafood too.
  • More Vegetables | add more vegetables to round this soup out; consider raw cabbage, sauerkraut, peas, or green beans.
  • More Herbs | add dill, fenugreek, oregano, thyme or other favorite herbs.
  • Vegeta | a tablespoon of Vegeta makes for a lovage substitute if you have none. Add it to the final soup and taste for saltiness before adding more salt.

Storage

Store it covered and refrigerate for up to 4 days, but it is best if consumed within 24 hours.

To reheat, simply add a portion into a pot and reheat gently on low until it gets to temperature.

FAQ

Can you eat fish head?

Fish heads can contain a lot of meat, especially around the jowls of the fish. If you use a whole fish, including the head, to make the stock and soup, you can eat the meat from the fish head. It’s up to you if you want to eat the eyes or tongue.

Looking for other recipes like this fish stock and simple soup? Try these:

A bowl of Ukha fish soup with chunks of salmon, bream, and trout with vegetables like carrots and potatoes in a white bowl on a wood table.

Ukha (Russian Fish Soup)

Ukha is a traditional Russian clear, brothy soup full of fish and vegetables.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Soups
Cuisine: International
Servings: 6
Calories: 342kcal
Author: Jana Dziak

Equipment

  • Immersion blender optional, only if you want to blend the potato into the soup to make it thicker.
  • Heavy stock pot

Ingredients

  • 1 Seabream fish whole, gutted and scaled
  • 1 Salmon filet or trout filet
  • 4 Large Potatoes peeled and then roughly chopped, except for 1 potato you can leave whole
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion cut in half, finely dice one half and leave the other half whole
  • 4 Medium Carrots peeled, leave two carrots whole and roughly chop the other two.
  • 1 Bunch Fresh parsley finely diced and divided into two piles.
  • 2 Stalks Fresh lovage (including leaves) optional, left whole with leaves intact
  • 4 Ribs Celery (including leaves) leave two ribs whole, roughly chop the other two, add any leaves into the pile with the whole celery.
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf

Instructions

For The Fish Stock

  • Bring 4 litres of water to boil in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot that has a lid.
  • As the water gets to a boil, prep the vegetables as in the notes above.
  • Take the following vegetables: 1/2 onion (whole), 2 carrots (whole), 1/2 of the chopped parsley, all of the lovage (if using), 2 stalks celery (whole), and the bay leaf.
  • Add the vegetables to the boiling water and then immidietly reduce the temperature to the lowest setting. C
  • Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the fish and continue to simmer on low for another 20 minutes, covered.
  • Remove the fish from the water and set it aside to cool in a bowl. Once cooled, shred the meat and discard any bones and skin.
  • The vegetables are spent. They may be composted or fed to your chickens or other animals.
  • Strain the stock and set it aside.

For The Simple Fish & Vegetable soup:

  • In the same pot, saute the remaining onions and carrots in some olive oil until browned and soft.
  • Add all the diced potatoes, the whole potato, and half of the remaining fresh parsley.
  • Add the fish broth you reserved.
  • Let the soup simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes, covered, or until the potatoes are tender and the whole potato you put in is cooked.
  • Remove the potato along with some broth into a bowl and use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth.
  • Add this mixture back to the soup and stir.
    This step is optional. It thickens the soup while still leaving behind potato chunks.
    You can also just break up the potato with a wooden spoon into more chunks instead.
  • Simmer until vegetables are soft.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, tasting the soup as it cooks.
  • Turn off the heat and then add in the chopped fish meat, half a lemon cut into quarters, and the remaining olive oil.
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes, and then garnish generously with the remaining parsley.
  • Serve with crusty sourdough bread, generously buttered or spread with sour cream for a fantastic lunch. Or serve as a starter soup course for dinner.

Notes

Substitutions & Variations
  • Smoked fish | if you have any smoked fish, add it to the soup for an interesting flavor.
  • Types of Fish | salmon soup or trout soup is delicious, but feel free to add other fish or seafood too.
  • More Vegetables | add more vegetables to round this soup out; consider raw cabbage, sauerkraut, peas, or green beans.
  • More Herbs | add dill, fenugreek, oregano, thyme or other favorite herbs.
  • Vegeta | a tablespoon of Vegeta makes for a lovage substitute if you do not have any. Add it to the final soup and taste for saltiness before adding more salt.
Storage
Store it covered and refrigerate for up to 4 days, but it is best if consumed within 24 hours.
To reheat, simply add a portion into a pot and reheat gently on low until it gets to temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 1396mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 7615IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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