Bjanko Juha - Bokelian Fish Soup Recipe

By , 10 Jun 2018, 14:54 PM Gourmet

June 10, 2018 - "Bjanko juha“ is one of the delicacies that when you taste it, you taste Boka. But how to prepare this traditional Bokelian dish on your own?

Baba Mare pears parsley in a stone sink on the terrace. It's early in the morning, barely seven o'clock, and it's already very hot if you're not in the shade of the old stone house. But, you still feel the smell of the Bokelian morning. The flair is in the flower, the myth of a rich flourish. Sea smells sometimes of the fish, sometimes fresh as a cold watermelon. The fish soup of granny Mare smells in Muo, Prcanj, Krtole, and Rose. The same smell will be experienced from every kitchen where the housewife cooks „juha bjanko“- white fish soup. Like their ancestors, for centuries before, Bokelji cook the fish soup by counting on their fingers. Are any of the 11 ingredients of this traditional food, which fed the generations of ancestors, missing in the pot, or „teća“ (how Bokelians call it)?

Today „bjanko juha“ is one of the delicacies that when you taste it, you taste Boka. You smelled the dawn on the brook, meet the local fisherman, clean fish with him in the "mandrać"- a dry stone structure in the sea, which for centuries preserves the wooden boat of local fisherman. When you taste this soup, you have also met granny Mare, who is now hoping to not forget to put some of the ingredients in the pot.

She took a 5-liter pot, laid 3-4 potatoes, plucked on the plates, and on the bottom of the pot, added two onions sliced in the same way. Carefully over the port she spread about a kilogram of small fish. If there is hake or grouper, the soup is greasy and delicious. But every fish is good for this soup, except mullet and salpa. These species have too much iodine, so they overwhelm the soup taste.

There's more to be felt in this soup. So, through the potato, the onion and the fish, Mare added two garlic cloves, a smaller wafer of parsley, 5 spoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground pepper. She ingested ingredients with about 2 liters of water, everything in the pot needed to be covered with water. When it was half-cooked, granny Mare had just finished pulling clothes off the rope over the terrace. The sheets, called "lencuni" in Boka, did not take on the smell of the soup. And Jane urged to add the last ingredient - about half a decilitre of white wine, so that the fish did not break down during cooking.

The soup is done in 30-40 minutes. Covered, to stand till lunchtime, Baba Mare sets up a breakfast table. "Marenda" is the most important meal of the day. First of all, she and her fisherman will go for a brandy - „rakija“.  Another typical Mediterranean day is about to start.

The small fish can be replaced by any white fish. Also, the dish is delicious even if prepared from black cod or grouper, which you can buy frozen in almost every supermarket. But that's not all. You will find a small fish on the Kotor market. Ask for it from the fishermen in Herceg Novi harbor Škver. At Tivat markets, you will find a small catch of fishermen if you are a morning person. If you like to stay in bed longer, know that it is often offered in fish stores for a very affordable price.

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