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Mexican Seafood soup with masa herb-flecked belly button dumplings


2 -4

Cooks In

60 minutes

Mexican fish soup is brothy and light with just a little tomato, epazote and a hint of heat. The tiny belly button dumplings ‘chochoyotes” are so-called as the little indent in the middle of the dumpling which helps to allow them to cook quickly looks like a little belly button! This recipe will make enough for a generous seafood feast for two or starter for four people.


Making the stock 

  1. Place all the ingredient for the stock into a stockpot, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a bare simmer, cook this way for 20 minutes.

Making the masa dumplings 

  1. In a small bowl add the masa harina, salt and fat of your choice, rub in until combined, then stir in the water.
  2. Allow the masa harina to absorb all the water and knead until it is smooth and not at all sticky. Then roll into 4g balls.
  3. Take your little finger and press into the centre of each ball to make a belly button indent. 
  4. Place on a plate and loosely cover with a tea towel while you make the rest.

Back to the stock 

  1. When the stock has been simmering for 20 minutes, strain it into a measuring jug, top up with water to make up the stock to 1 litre.
  2. Wipe out the stockpot and add the stock back to the pot. Place over medium heat and gently bring back to a simmer.

Cook the belly button dumplings

  1. When the stock is back to a simmer, gently place the dumplings in the simmering stock, they will sink and then bob back up, cook for a further 6 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate, cover and refrigerate if not using within an hour.

Cook the squid

  1. In the same simmering stock that you cooked the dumplings add the squid rings and tentacles, gently simmer for 20 minutes until the squid is soft. 

Cook the clams

  1. While the squid is cooking place a saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat, add a splash of water and the clams, put the lid on and cook until they are open, discarding any that didn’t open.
  2. Strain the clams into a bowl reserving the juice that they have made. Pour this juice carefully into the stock, making sure to leave behind any sediment and sand.
  3. Then reserve 3 nice-looking shells with a clam per bowl. The rest can be removed from their shells, discarding the shells and reserving the clams.

Bringing the soup together 

  1. Taste the simmering stock, it should be nicely balanced, if not season with a little salt as this will enhance the delicate flavours. The stock should not be too thick so add a little water if necessary to make it brothy. 
  2. When you are happy with the flavour of the stock, add the monkfish pieces to the simmering stock and cook for 5 minutes or until just done. 
  3. Finally add the peeled prawns, once they change from grey to pink, remove from the heat, allow to rest on the side while you prepare your bowls and garnishes.

Serving the Soup

  1. Depending on how many you are serving, divide the masa dumplings and clams in their shells evenly into bowls.
  2. Ladle the hot broth in each bowl, making sure each bowl has a mix of prawns, squid, shelled clams and monkfish.
  3. Take to the table with the garnish and allow people to customise their bowl of delicious fish.