Polish Fish in Gelatin {Ryba w Galarecie}

Ryba w galarecie [ryh-bah v gah-lah-reh-chye] is very commonly served as one of the 12 dishes during Polish Christmas, but very controversial when served on my Polish – American table. My American husband calls it fish “jello” (which is not helping the situation) and proceeds to explain to anyone who’s not familiar with it, how weird Polish food is. For any fish lover however, this dish should be a new and adventurous way to enjoy a mild and well seasoned fish dish. Fish/gelatin broth is savory and lightly garlicky, with pieces of soft fish, boiled eggs and carrots bringing a bit of extra texture.

I don’t make this dish often, mainly exclusively for Christmas, which makes it taste extra special. A sprinkle of acidic vinegar or lemon juice will complement the flavor which I immediately relate to flavours of Christmas.

Polish Fish in Gelatin {Ryba w Galarecie}

  • Yields: 6 (1/2 cup) servings
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • About 1 lb / 500 g fish parts (head, tail, fins)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/2 of celery root or 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 of an onion burnt directly on the gas burner
  • 3 bayleaves
  • 4-5 peppercorns and allspice (each)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 filets of a mild white fish (about 10 oz / 300 g)
  • 5 envelopes of gelatin (40 g)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1/2 cups of frozen or canned peas

Instructions

  1. Palce fish parts, and the next 8 ingredients in a soup pot and boil on low for 30 min. Strain broth, remove and discard all but the carrots. Return broth into the pot. Add fish filets and simmer on low for about 10 minutes (until fish is cooked). Remove fish and cool.

  2. Boil egg and thinly slice.* Slice carrots.

  3. While broth is still hot add gelatin by slowly pouring powder into the hot soup and whisking vigorously. Crush dill sprigs in between your fingers and add to broth/gelatin mixture, along with crushed garlic cloves. Leave for 15 minutes. Remove dill and garlic.

  4. Place 6 glass containers (mine are about 1/2 cups each)onto a tray. Place a slice of an egg, carrot slices, a few peas into each container. Then place pieces of cooked fish filets (evenly divide between all containers) - see photo below.

  5. Gently pour fish broth over fish and vegetables to cover. Transfer tray into the fridge and cool overnight.

Notes

Serve with bread, sprinkled with lemon juice or white vinegar.

Evenly arrange eggs, carrots, peas and fish in glass containers before pouring fish broth.

Have you ever tasted this dish? Have you seen your family members enjoying it but you were reluctant to try. I encourage you to try it again and again. After all, if all of Poland eats (and enjoys it), you can too. 🙂

Happy cooking and smacznego!

With love,

Anna

* I use this egg slicer. I also use it to slice eggs and potatoes when making Polish vegetable salad {sałatka jarzynowa}. It is a very helpful and inexpensive tool in my kitchen.

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