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Kakavia - Greek Fisherman's Soup


In Greek: κακαβιά, say: ka-kahv-YAH

Kakavia - Greek fisherman's soup - is a classic Greek dish. Often compared to the French bouillabaisse, any Greek will tell you that it's tastier and easier to make!

Traditionally made with the catch of the day, the selection of fish and seafood can be changed with the seasons, as long as the fish are fairly small and suitable for boiling.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 whole small ripe tomato
  • 1 whole medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, with the hard exterior
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in 1 1/2 -2 inch pieces
  • 3-4 stems of celery, sliced
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, cleaned and peeled
  • 3 small zucchini, cut partway through lengthwise
  • juice of 3-4 lemons
  • .
  • THE SEAFOOD - 5 pounds (1 each) gutted and scaled (as needed), whole, from the following
  • small lobster
  • scorpionfish
  • stingbull (handle with care!)
  • European hake or cod
  • white grouper
  • comber
  • painted comber
  • or other small whole fish suitable for boiling
  • AND
  • 1 medium cuttlefish
  • .
  • 1 large piece of tulle


In a large pot, add all soup base ingredients except zucchini and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, then add zucchini. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

In order to prevent pieces of spine and bone from getting into the soup, wrap whole fish loosely in a piece of tulle and secure.

Add fish, lobster (if using), and cuttlefish (if using), to the soup base. When boil resumes, cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered.

5 minutes before cooking time is up, add lemon juice.

Traditionally, the whole fish, other seafood, and vegetables are placed on a large platter, and the soup is served separately in a tureen or individual soup bowls.

Yield: serves 6

Note: For a similar soup using larger fish, see Greek Fish Soup - Psarosoupa.

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