Suupi – Experiment in recreating a fantasy recipe

So in the interest of having well rounded cultures for the World of Entorais I have established local culinary delights for several of the detailed cultures. One such dish is:

Suupi – Iskander

Suupi is a milk-broth chowder with pot roots, cubed whole fish, scallops, and fermented kelp. This particular dish is only served in the Isk Archipelago, or on-board Iskandean ships, and alongside a hearty dark grained bread with a mug of the dry pear-cider Apetil, it is a signature dish of Iskander. Different cooks may argue as to which fish are better than others, but generally any bony white-meat fish is used.

Sharing this in response to a worldbuilding challenge on Reddit generated some excellent Q & A:

Q: What kind of milk is commonly used?
A: Teica milk is most common, a rich creamy milk. Cebuc milk tends to pick up flavours from the plants eaten by the animals, and given their propensity to eat nearly anything, can sometimes be off-tasting. Rabbuc have few species hardy enough for the wet climate of the islands, but there are a few, and when available their milk will be more often used for cheese making.

Q: Is fermented kelp a common food in the Isk Archipelago?

A: It is a regional preference (something like sauerkraut), the wetter climate proves to be challenging to making dried seaweed. Fermenting is different from pickling mind you.

Q: With the suupi being mostly seafood products, why isn’t it also cooked in other coastal regions close to Iskander?

A: Probably the fermented kelp. Most coastal areas around Entorais will have sea food chowders amongst their dishes. Few foreigners like the particular melange of tastes that define suupi.

Q: Have Iskandeans (or foreigners) come up with some cool modified foreign recipes with fermented kelp added in?

A: There is one fellow, a Waejiran immigrant, and proprietor of a tavern who has tried to blend Iskandean tastes with recipes from his homeland. Curries and other spicy dishes adapted to locally available seafood including the fermented kelp; it is a work in progress still.

Q: Are the spices required for those foods actually grown in the Isk Archipelago?

A: Aethios imports most of the spices he requires from his former homeland of Waejir. Efforts to grow them in a local garden so far have failed completely, or produced an inferior product.

So in the interest of getting a deeper appreciation for my imaginary people and their strange ways I decided to try making suupi on my own.

It was simple enough to start with a chowder based on my father’s old kalamojakka recipe, which I still know how to make, and adapt a few other ingredients to simulate the texture and flavour of the fermented kelp:

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 lb of fish, cubed – traditional recipes toss in the head, and fins, skin and all – (I used a flank of salmon with the skin on)
  • 1/2 lb of scallops – I skipped these altogether as I didn’t feel like going to buy some just for the experiment in case I had to dump it out.
  • 2 cups of green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups fermented kelp – an ingredient I didn’t have on hand so I faked the texture and flavour using (1 cup of dried black fungus – sourced from a local Asian grocer, comes cut in thin ribbons
    1 package of dried seaweed, chopped
    2 cups of fresh brewed coffee )
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Fill pot to cover ingredient with equal parts fresh milk and water
  • boil until potatoes are soft throughout and skin falls of the fish.

Like Aethios himself, I set the pot to boil and then simmer to mix the flavours. When finished I ladled myself a hearty bowl full and sat down to eat.

Suupi experiment – looks about right, taste… an acquired one.

8/10 will eat again, especially as I have about six quarts of the stuff to get through since I can’t seem to cook one-person meals. Not for the light of stomach or those with delicate palettes. I can say it was definitely close to what I expected. The sour seaweed flavour is noticeable enough to be off-putting to anyone not used to such flavours. The slightly chewy slippery texture from the black fungus certainly meets my imagined texture for the kelp it simulates.

I can certainly commiserate with my fictional tavern keeper, and his efforts to improve upon such a unique cultural dish to no avail.


Shaloki (600 x 400)
Shaloki – Commissioned Artist: Reddit User /u/MarkyBoy1313

Hunted by the Iskandean fishermen these aquatic reptiles are aggressive predators of schooling fish upon which the local economy depends. They are found in pods of 4-6 members (pair bonded adults with one or two year old young).

Adults average a length of 2-3 meters, and a mass upwards of 500 kg.Young are live-birthed, generally in pairs, measuring half a meter in length and massing about 5 kg. They grow quickly, reaching full adult size, and sexual maturity in three years.

They swim using their four fore-limb flippers, hind limbs ending in webbed feet, and powerful flat tail. They are capable of limited movement on land, using their ability to leap from the water to great effect if threatened. Their mottled appearance lends some camoflague while stalking prey fish, before attacking with a savage tearing bite.