Chilled chile de agua soup with almond salt cod fritters

Chilled chile de agua soup with almond salt cod fritters

Chris Middleton

Chile de agua is a chilli that’s famous in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. It is known by a few names and you may have seen it called bullhorn chilli, banana chilli, sweet pepper, paprika or heirloom pepper. These chillies have much more flavour than a capsicum (bell pepper) and a gentle heat, hence the name, which means ‘water chilli’. Here I make a gazpacho from them, which is a lovely partner for the salt cod fritters.

Chile de agua soup


Quantity Ingredient
500ml freshly squeezed orange juice
10 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 bullhorn chillies, roughly chopped
1 long cucumber, roughly chopped
3 slices white bread, torn
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 large handful oregano leaves
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
50ml reposado tequila
1 1/2 tablespoons cabernet sauvignon vinegar
1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
3 oranges, zested
1/2 jalapeno
1/2 bird’s eye chilli
sea salt, to taste
sugar, to taste

Almond salt cod fritters

Quantity Ingredient
60g panko crumbs
45g flaked almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
75g masa harina pan flour
1 quantity Salt cod mixture
sunflower oil, for frying
sea salt, to taste

To garnish

Quantity Ingredient
175ml Aïoli
1 avocado, sliced
1 tart green apple, sliced, such as granny smith
micro coriander


  1. To make the chile de agua soup, place the orange juice in a small saucepan and simmer to reduce to 170 ml.
  2. Combine the reduced juice with the remaining soup ingredients in a food processor or blender and process, adding a little water to make a smooth, rich soup. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and adjust the seasoning with salt, sugar and a little more vinegar, if required. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. The longer the soup has to marinate the better the flavour.
  3. To prepare the almond salt cold fritters, combine the panko crumbs and flaked almonds in a medium bowl, and place the eggs and masa harina flour in separate bowls alongside. Roll the salt cod mixture into golf ball-sized balls, dredge in the flour, dip in the egg mixture and coat in the crumbs.
  4. Pour enough oil for shallow-frying into a large deep frying pan until it is one-third full and heat it over medium heat to 180°C.
  5. Fry the balls, turning frequently, for 5 minutes, or until golden brown all over and heated through. Season lightly with salt then drain on paper towel.
  6. To serve, place spoonfuls of aïoli into the base of the soup bowls and spread flat with the base of a spoon. Place a fritter on the top and surround with alternating avocado and apple slices. Sprinkle with micro coriander. Transfer the soup to a suitable pitcher and pour into the bowls at the table in front of your guests.
Paul Wilson
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