Sometimes called "the bouillabaisse of Hungary," Paprika Fish Soup is simplicity itself. It originated centuries ago with the fishermen who cooked it in big metal pots over campfires on the embankments of Hungary’s great rivers, including the Danube. In Hungary this fish soup often contains several kinds of local fresh fish—carp, catfish, sterlet, pike, perch, bream, whatever is available as the catch of the day.
It may seem like cheating, but I like to use canned curry paste for this dish since it avoids the work of chopping and pounding that homemade curry paste involves. This dish takes its name from the northern Malaysian port city, but in Thailand the sauce is creamier and richer than the dry dark curries popular there.
Here is my version of the classic hot sauce of Rórigues Island in the Mascarenes. It is very thick, so feel free to thin with more water if you want. You’d think that this sauce might be sour, but it’s not–the sugar in the red chiles seems to temper the tart lemons. Any fresh red chiles can be used, and you can adjust the heat level to your liking. The yield is high here, but the color is so beautiful that you should put the excess in decorative bottles as gifts for your friends. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Serve it over fish or other seafood.
Here is a classic pique recipe from Puerto Rico. As usual, the longer the chiles steep, the hotter the sauce will be. It should be stored in a bottle with a sprinkler cap so the amount of sauce can be controlled as it is sprinkled over grilled fish, poultry, or even into salads. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
According to Paul Sheehan Jr., owner of Coast Kitchen & Cannery Foods, "After considerable time spent on trial and error, and many additional pounds added, we finally settled on Recipe #17. It's actually one of the simplest recipes we came up with but is one of the best tasting." I've added a sauce, but the dish is also good served without it.