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fish stew
Photo credit Vered Guttman.

Tunisian Spicy Fish (Chraimeh)

Perfect for the holidays, think of this dish as the Mizrahi replacement of gefilte fish.

  • Total Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • cup corn oil, safflower oil or mild olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • chili pepper flakes, to taste
  • kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups water at room temperature
  • 4 fish steaks such as salmon, tilapia or red snapper
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 4 Serrano peppers (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Place a wide pan (that can hold all the fish in one layer) on medium heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add garlic and sauté until garlic is transparent, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add paprika, caraway seeds, chili flakes and 1½ tsp salt and cook for another minute.
  3. Add tomato paste, mix and cook for another minute.
  4. Add water, then mix, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the fish in one layer, sprinkle a little salt and white pepper on the fish and drizzle some of the sauce, cover the pan and cook on low simmer for 10-15 minutes until the fish is fully cooked (it depends on the thickness of the fish.) Let fish stand in the covered pan for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. While fish is cooking, fry whole Serrano peppers in a little oil in a small pan over medium-high heat until tender and a little bit charred. Set aside.
  7. Transfer fish and sauce to serving plates. Drizzle with lemon juice, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with one Serrano pepper per person on the side.
  • Author: Vered Guttman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tunisian