Perhaps 20 years ago in Israel, stewed Moroccan Fish might have only graced the Shabbat tables of North African Jewish families, but in recent years it has become very popular among young Israelis of all backgrounds to make on Shabbat evening. A bit spicy, a lot of cilantro, and a wonderful red pepper sauce to soak up your challah. And if you are lucky to have any leftovers, it is great to eat on Sunday evening with rice, bulgur, or whatever grains you prefer.
Although it might look complicated to make, it is actually quite easy and takes only an hour.
Here is what you need:
5-6 tilapia or other firm white fish fillets (small bones are okay)
2 red peppers, chopped in cubes
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro (1/2 keep whole with the stems and 1/2 chop up just the leaves)
2 Tbsp of paprika
1 hot green pepper or a teaspoon of spicy paprika (Optional if you want the dish spicy)
1.5 cups water
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1) This step is optional, but you can soak your fish in a lemon/salt solution (mix the juice of one lemon and 1 Tbsp of salt) for an hour before you start and then rinse the fish off with water. This brings out the flavor of the fish. If I am buying a thicker white fish like you see below, I usually incorporate this step. With tilapia fillets I don’t.
2) In a medium-large wide skillet add the peppers, garlic, olive and canola oils, water, paprika, hot pepper/hot paprika (optional) and the 1/2 bunch of cilantro with the stems. Bring to a boil and cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes. (Picture below)
3) Uncover the pot, arrange the fish inside your skillet and using a spoon cover each piece with the sauce so they all turn red. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 20 minutes. (Picture below)
4) Then dissolve the salt in the sauce, add the black pepper and chopped cilantro on the fish and cook covered for 25 minutes.
Then you have your beautiful Moroccan fish!
Shabbat Shalom and Betavon! !שבת שלום ובתאבון
*Note: This is optional, but after you finish step 4 you can remove the big bunch of cilantro. We happen to love eat the cilantro whole with the fish so we don’t remove it. It is, of course, personal preference.