One of my salty friends, Jaysen Park posted this picture of his soup on Facebook and I immediately knew I wanted to have some.  I asked him for the recipe, but unfortunately I had just fileted of a couple whole chuckleheads (copper rockfish) from my last trip and discarded the carcasses.  I went on a failed yellowtail trip yesterday, but managed to take home a couple reds to make some fish stock, so I’ll be having Jaysen’s soup for dinner tonight.  I think I might add shrimp too 😉

Here’s the recipe…


Jaysen with a nice red (vermilion rockfish)

Thai Coconut Fish Soup

by Jaysen Park

I’ve been wanting to do this Thai soup with Vermilion Rockfish ever since I had a similar soup at a Thai restaurant in Cypress, except it was with Shrimp. I thought this would be so much better with fresh rockfish. I did a ¾ day on the Pursuit and scored some nice reds and thought here’s my chance to make some soup!

I did the quick and dirty version with fish stock already made but if i were doing this for guests, I would make the stock fresh.

The stars in the recipe are 2 Vermilion Rockfish or Chuckle heads whole gilled and gutted. (Approximately 2- 3 pounds each)

Fish Stock:


  • 2 Fish Heads + carcass
  • 1 stalk of Lemon grass
  • 1 inch of sliced ginger
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 brown onion quartered
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of peppercorns
  • Sea Salt to taste.

* Editorial Note – When I have more room in my freezer, I like to premake fish stock base (see above) by using just the carcasses, salt and pepper and a couple bay leaves.  Strain it.  Use a tupperware container to freeze it in appropriately sized chunks that you can defrost and use later.  Whatever other ingredients you need later, you can layer on top of that premade base stock.  It’s a tasty timesaver.

In an 8 quart stock pot combine ingredients and bring to boil. Skim off the foam and bring to simmer for 30 – 45 mins. Strain off the solids and discard leaving just the stock.


Thai coconut fish soup with vermillion rockfish


  • 2 -3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup celery chopped, 1 cup carrots chopped, 1 cup onions chopped. (Trinity)
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika or Srirachasauce
  • 6 cups of fish stock made fresh (quick and dirty version is to use fish stock already made or use chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 fillets of rockfish cubed (1 inch cubes)
  • 2 fillets of rockfish sliced (3 inch chucks)
  • Juice 2 limes.
  • Cilantro, lime wedges, salt and pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms or button mushrooms
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes.
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes
  • Fish sauce to taste

In an 8 quart stock pot add butter, garlic and ginger. Add onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers and potatoes. Stir in red curry, paprika, brown sugar.  Once the onions are translucent, pour the fish or chicken stock over the mixture, stirring continually. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the fish; cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt and pepper. To serve, place large piece of fish on top garnish with cilantro.



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