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Cape Verdean Caldo De Peixe

Cape Verdean Caldo De Peixe

Caldo De Peixe

The popular Cape Verdean meal caldo de peixe has a long and savoury history that represents the island nation's seafaring heritage and the confluence of culinary influences. The confluence of Portuguese and African culinary traditions forms the basis of the meal. The Portuguese introduced their love of fish and spices to the islands when they invaded Cape Verde in the 15th century. Unique Cape Verdean cuisine was made possible by the smooth fusion of African ingredients and cooking methods with Portuguese flavours, notably the usage of vegetables, yams, and okra.

In the past, Caldo de Peixe frequently included fish heads and bones to make a hearty, tasty soup out of locally caught fish. Aromatic herbs like cilantro and parsley as well as onions and garlic added depth and scent. The meal changed over time to include new components including tomatoes, bell peppers, and root vegetables, which complicated the flavour profile.

Preparation Time

50 minutes


For the Fish Stock:

1 pound (450g) of fish

1 onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 bay leaf


Salt and pepper 

For the Soup:

1 pound (450g) of white fish fillets (cut into chunks)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 tomato (diced)

1 green bell pepper (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1 carrot (diced)

1 potato (diced)

1/2 cup yam or sweet potato (diced)

1/2 cup cabbage (chopped)

1/2 cup spinach or kale (chopped)

1/2 cup okra (chopped)

1/2 cup cassava (diced) 

1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)

1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper 

Lime or lemon wedges 


  • Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they become fragrant and translucent.
  • Add the fish heads and bones, bay leaf, and enough water to cover everything.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and allow the stock to simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
  • Strain the stock, discard the solids, and set the liquid aside.
  • In the same pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they become fragrant and translucent.
  • Add the tomato, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  • Stir in the paprika and ground cumin to coat the vegetables with the spices.
  • Add the fish chunks and cook briefly until they start to turn opaque.
  • Pour in the fish stock that you prepared earlier. Add the diced carrot, potato, yam or sweet potato (if using), cabbage, spinach or kale, okra (if using), and cassava (if using).
  • Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked through about 15-20 minutes.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Stir in the fresh cilantro and parsley and cook for an additional minute.
  • Serve the Caldo de Peixe hot with lime or lemon wedges on the side.