Versions of this dish are found all across North Africa. You can make it with any white fish, though it’s traditionally prepared with grouper, tilapia or grey mullet. Cod and perch, however, work as well.
I always try to use locally caught fish, or fish farmed in environmentally friendly systems. I decided to prepare this after seeing a wonderful selection of fresh tilapia in my local market.
This dish, rich in Moroccan and Tunisian flavors, is quite spicy. If you are not a fan of spicy food feel free to substitute the hot paprika with sweet for a milder taste.
- 2 whole fresh tilapia, cleaned and cut into 1-1.5 inch wide pieces, discarding head and tail.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika (If you don’t enjoy spicy food you can substitute with sweet paprika.)
- 1 tablespoon caraway
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 4 cups of boiling water
- A handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the paprika, then stir in the tomato paste and add one cup of boiling water.
- Add the caraway, cumin and salt and stir. Add 3 more cups of boiling water, lower the flame and cook for 20 minutes.
- Place the pieces of fish next to each other in the pan so that they are covered by the sauce. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove from flame, garnish with parsley, and serve.