Canned fish soup, Soviet-Style

13 Mar

Canned Fish Soup

Canned fish may be considered by some to be a junk food, especially if the supermarkets and stores are full of fresh produce, meat, chicken and fish.

Back in the late 80s – early 90s in the Soviet Union regular people didn’t have an opportunity to purchase desired ingredients for their meals.  It was difficult to buy good canned fish, and if someone was able to purchase it they tried to feed the whole family by using a single can.

Almost all homemade meals then were born “out of nothing”.  Canned fish soup is one of these recipes.  Nonetheless, it’s very tasty and full of flavour.

You can make soup from any canned fish (in oil, in tomato sauce, in brine), except smoked canned fish.  My favourite soup was made with canned saury.


  • 6 to 8 cup water
  • Saury blanched in oil, 1 can
  • 3 -4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut 
  • 3 tbsp rice or barley or any other grain (I used oatmeal)
  • 1 small onion,finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and grains are cooked – 25 -30 min if using rice; 40 min if using barley.
  3. I felt it needed some colour and added some chopped kale (about 1/2 cup).

23 Responses to “Canned fish soup, Soviet-Style”

  1. Khaula Naxir March 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    I nominated you for an award:

  2. chef mimi March 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Very interesting Kat! Does saury have an equivalent? I mean, is it known elsewhere by another name?

  3. abrooke65 March 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    What a wonderful history. The soup looks delicious. It reminds me of gefilte fish. My grandparents live in Coney Island so in the late 80s when the Russians started settling there my Grandma would make soups like this. I guess she learned from her friends and neighbors.

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves March 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      People call late 80s – early 90s “hungry years”, there was very little food available when USSR was falling apart. Many families made this soup back then so I can see how new immigrants continued making it – it is a money-saver.

  4. Cindy March 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Thank you for sharing a little history 🙂 I learned something new today!

  5. patinaandcompany March 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Very interesting cultural and history lesson!

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves March 14, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      The things people cooked to survive… I never take food for granted, I know what that’s like not to have much.

      • patinaandcompany March 14, 2013 at 9:56 am #

        Having grown up in Canada with Ukranians on one side, I have NO IDEA what not having too much food would be like! But I do love the style of food and exuberant attitude they brought to everything.

  6. Boomdeeadda March 14, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    Looks like a thrifty dish. I’m sorry things were difficult back then. I bet lot’s of everyday family meal solutions stem from necessity. I don’t eat meat but I think it would be good in vegetable broth too.

  7. eyes Of Odysseus March 14, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    im.starving! looks so good to eat.

  8. wiolakk March 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Oh yes, in 80s in Poland was the same, culinary invention for invention. This kind of soup, however, I don’t remember, probably wasn’t known in my circle, but my grandma was doing goulash from the canned meat and we really liked it.

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves March 17, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Culinary invention for invention – well described how people managed very little available to them to feed their families.
      I have eaten soups and stews made with the canned meat – it’s another “classic” from the early 90s. Homemade canned meat is nothing short of delicious!

      • wiolakk March 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        “Homemade canned meat is nothing short of delicious!” – exactly, from time to time I make our “sausage in the jar” 🙂 And you know what is inside 🙂

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves April 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

        I bet it’s very tasty!

  9. Sheryl March 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    The history is really interesting. I’ll have to try the soup sometime soon. In general, I like canned fish–so I think that I’d enjoy it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: