Fish sauce and nutty palm oil flavor this luscious stew, undoubtedly a predecessor of Louisiana-style gumbo.
- FOR THE VEGETABLE BROTH:
- 12 cups fish or vegetable stock
- 4 cups thick-sliced okra
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- FOR THE SEAFOOD SOUP:
- 6 tbsp. palm oil (available from iHerb)
- 4 tbsp. fish sauce (available from Amazon)
- 1 large eggplant, cut into large chunks, or 4 small Thai eggplants
- 2 habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles, slit in half lengthwise
- 24 mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cooked white rice or fonio, for serving (see below for ordering)
- Make the vegetable broth: Bring the stock to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat, then add okra, bay leaves, and onions. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until okra is very tender and stock has reduced by one-quarter, about 1 ½ hours.
- Make the seafood soup: Add the palm oil, 3 tbsp. fish sauce, eggplant, and chiles to the vegetable broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened and okra falls apart, about 30 minutes.
- Add mussels and shrimp; cover pan, and cook until mussels open and shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- To serve, remove from heat and stir in remaining fish sauce and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, and serve with rice or fonio.