3 ratings

Fish Pepper Soup

From BUKA in Brooklyn
Courtesy of BUKA

This flavorful, fragrant and somewhat spicy soup is straight from Lookman Afolayan of Brooklyn's BUKA. The restaurant serves authentic, never sugar-coated West African cuisine and this dish is no exception. 

This recipe is courtesy of BUKA.


• The ingredients in a traditional Nigerian pepper soup spice mix should not be substituted for other spices. To purchase a ready made version of the soup spice mix, click here

• For the scotch bonnet peppers you should only use as much as you can handle but to get the full experience, Lookman Ofolayan of BUKA says you should try to push beyond what you can comfortably handle.


  • 2 whole tilapia, scaled and gutted
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into pieces
  • 3 scotch bonnet peppers, finely chopped (see notes)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Nigerian pepper soup spice* (see notes)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Fish or vegetable stock (see directions)
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint


Step 1: Make two shallow cuts on each side of 2 whole tilapia and soak in salt water while preparing the other ingredients.

Step 2: Grind the ½ onion, 3 finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers and 1 cup of water in a blender until roughly chopped not to a fine paste.

Step 3: In a large pot combine the blended mixture, 1 sliced yellow onion,1 tablespoon pepper soup spice and salt to taste.

Step 4: Cover the pot and boil for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add the fish and 3 sprigs of thyme, reduce heat and simmer for another 6-7 minutes.

Step 6: Add enough stock to cover the fish and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Step 7: Add the 3 sprigs of  mint and remove the pot from heat. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.

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