Tisza fish soup is a collective concept, as the paprika fish soup is made a little differently in the Upper Tisza area or Szeged, and even the type of fish added to the soup base varies from region to region. The starting point can be catfish, sterlet, carp or a mixture of these. However, their common characteristic is that the soup base is prepared with great care and over a long time, from which no flavour can escape, which is why it contains so much fish offal. In this respect, it is similar to the Lake Balaton fish soup, with the key difference that predatory fish such as zander, pikeperch or pike are also cooked in the juices for preference. In both cases, the soup base is prepared first, unlike in the case of the Danube version. The Danube fish soup keeps in mind the freshness of the soup, so is made quickly on a high flame, with the juices and the fish cooked at the same time. This is lighter, while the fish slices in it are overcooked, which is why pasta is added to get that al dente experience. By contrast, the special feature of Tisza fish soup is that the dense, puréed soup base itself results in a rich, fuller bite. In this case, however, care must be taken not to “tire” the soup during the long cooking time, which is why making Tisza fish soup requires serious craftsmanship. The base is made with the offcuts of white-fleshed fine fish, such as carp heads, tails, occasionally fish blood, and various small fish (bream, crucian carp, compo), to which Makó or Szentes onions cut into larger pieces are added. In some places, a few tomatoes and peppers also go into the soup base and finally, just enough water is added to cover the fish. It is cooked over a low heat until the meat comes off the bones. When it is almost a purée, it is passed through a sieve. The fish brew thus concocted is put back on the heat and water, salt and paprika are added. It is brought to a boil on a moderate heat and simmered, and the pre-salted carp slices are placed in the soup base and cooked for no more than 10 to 15 minutes. This ensures the fish is cooked in its own juice but is by no means overcooked. Tisza fish soup is usually served in a small cauldron, accompanied by slices of hot chili peppers and bread. The oldest written record of any Hungarian fish soup is of Tisza fish soup from 1871.