Bouillabaisse inspired fish stew

In our families we love fish.

My grandfather was a fisherman and his family are still in the trade. My husband and his family, as good Japanese, love fish and I , having been brought up by the sea in my lovely San Sebastian, do too.

Fish is a gift from the sea and I feel that each time you use it , it should be worth its life. To be fair I do feel the same about any animal, and there is nothing I despise most that the waste of a life because of an overcooked steak or omelette , for example, which defeats the point of the animals’ ultimate sacrifice.

This dish has been a make it up as you go along with the aim of cheering up my mom in law who is not well. It is a sea fiesta to celebrate that we are still together.

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Quantity: this mix serves six


1. You can serve this with a warm baguette cut on to large slices, but you can also serve some new potatoes on the side. Boiled, salted and with a bit of butter.

2. The ideal fish is a white meatie one. Monkfish could do a great job but anything that can keep the shape will be great. If you buy cod, don’t skin it and the skin will make sure that stays in one piece.

Also, something my grandmother used to do is to flour the fish and fry it first, a bit like you would do with a beef stew. This is what we do.


2 table spoons of olive oil
1 onion finely sliced
1 carrot sliced into strips to match the size of the onion slices

2 table spoons of olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
100 gr of anchovies finely chopped
150 gr of black pitted olives
2 x 400 gr chopped tomato cans
2 birdseye chillies
15 leafs of basil
Maldon salt

6 pieces of hadock or cod
12 uncooked prawns, ideally in the shell
1 squid cut in 2×2 cm aquares ( make sure that you also use the tenticles)
a 25 cm plate with flour, salt and pepper for flouring the fish.
Vegetable oil for frying

Cooking instructions:

In a large pan, the one where you are going to cook everything, place 2 table spoons of Olive oil and in low heat, cook the onion and the carrot until soft. When they are ready put them aside.

In The same pan, place another 2 table spoon of oil and cook the garlic and the anchovies until those disolve. Then add the olives and cook for about 3 minutes. They will soften a bit and get coated with the garlic and anchovies.

Bring the onions and the carrots back on to the pan and add the chopped tomato. Cook slowly, low heat, for about ten minutes. When the tomato is due, test it and salt as neccessary.

Use this time to flour and fry the fish only. Do not fully cook it. Make sure than it will take further five minutes.

Always on the low heat add the squid and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the prawns and cook for 3 minutes. Add the fish and the basil and finish cooking. It will take another five to seven minutes.

Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Toru Saeki and Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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