Waterzooi is a stew dish from Belgium and originating in Flanders. The second part of the name derives from the Middle Dutch terms sode, zo(o)de and soot, words referring to the act of boiling or the ingredients being boiled.[1] It is sometimes called Gentse Waterzooi which refers to the Belgian town of Ghent where it originated. The original dish is often made of fish, either freshwater or sea, (known as Viszooitje), though today chicken waterzooi (Kippenwaterzooi) is more common. The most accepted theory is that rivers around Ghent became too polluted and the fish there disappeared.[2] Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor ate the rich dish, even after suffering from gout.[3]

Fish Waterzooi garnished with vegetables
Place of origin Belgium
Region or stateFlanders
Main ingredientsFish or chicken, vegetable broth, egg yolks, cream


All versions are based on a soup-base of egg yolk, cream, and thickened vegetable broth. The stew itself contains fish or chicken, vegetables including carrots, onions, celeriac, leeks, potatoes and herbs such as parsley, thyme, bay-leaves and sage.[4]


Originally, burbot was used but this fish had all but disappeared from the rivers until its recent return due to conservation efforts.[5] Nowadays, fish such as eel, pike, carp and bass are used, though other fish such as cod, monkfish, or halibut can be used. Gentse Waterzooi van Tarbot includes turbot.


Chicken is a popular alternative to fish in the recipe, though the rest of the ingredients remain the same.

See also


  1. van Dale Etymologisch Woordenboek, p.965, dr. P.A.F. van Veen & drs. Nicoline van der Sijs, 1989, ISBN 90-6648-312-1
  2. "Gentse Waterzooi ยป Gentblogt". gentblogt.be.
  3. Patricia Carson, Fair Face of Flanders (Belgian Art Research Institute, 2001), p. 124.
  4. "Le Waterzooi Gantois (cuisine de Gand)". La Bonne Cuisine. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  5. "Na meer dan 40 jaar opnieuw kwabaal in Grote Nete". Het Laatste Nieuws. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  • Media related to Waterzooi at Wikimedia Commons
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