🇧🇪 Belgium: Fish Waterzooi

Waterzooi is a subtle and fragrant dish, where fish is paired with vegetables and smothered in a creamy sauce. Some even call it a soup! A popular Belgian dish and specialty of the city of Ghent, waterzooi can also be prepared with chicken.

While North Sea fish is traditionally used in this recipe, for our friends in the U.S. we recommend substituting cod, sea bass or haddock. Belgian potatoes are quite unique and the closest equivalents in the U.S. are Yukon Gold or melt-in-the-mouth baby potatoes.

“Ghent is my favorite city in Belgium, a vibrant university town, with centuries-old historical buildings and charming canals. I love to prepare waterzooi for American and foreign guests as an introduction to Belgian cooking and almost always get enthusiastic requests for seconds!”

For the full experience, play this traditional tune while prepping the recipe!

🇧🇪 Belgium: Fish Waterzooi


  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or baby potatoes
  • 2 quarts good quality fish stock
  • 4 cod fish fillets or any firm-fleshed fish such as sea bass salmon or haddock
  • 1 pound of large raw shrimp
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 leek chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh chives minced


  • Boil potatoes under fork tender. Peel skins and dice into 1-inch pieces. Place into a large deep serving dish or four individual deep plates.
  • Poach the cod fillets and shrimp in the fish stock for 10 minutes. Remove the fish and shrimp, draining liquid, and arrange on top of the potatoes. Set broth aside.
  • In a deep sauté pan or skillet, sauté the carrots, onion and leek in butter for two minutes or until soft.
  • Pour the fish stock over the tenderized vegetables, add the white wine and saffron. Add salt and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and pour into fish stock mixture to bind together. Be careful not to boil, which would cause the binding to fail.
  • Pour the sauce over the fish and potatoes.
  • Garnish with the minced fresh chives.


Tip: To prepare individual portions from the beginning, arrange potatoes and fish in four deep plates instead of a large dish.
Recipe credit: Traditional passed down recipe
Photo credit: Embassy of Belgium

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