Ghalieh Mahi | Persian Cod With Herbs and Tamarind

This is an updated version.

I had made this dish quite a few times already and this shall be my 3rd post about this dish. I think I had created the best version of this dish. I also served this dish as the main course for The Simpler Living lunch event. Here is a snap shot.

The difference between this and the previous attempts is that I decided to puree the sauce. It creates that elegant saucy stew which is perfect for the fish. I also decided to cook the fish separately instead of cooking together with the sauce. It allowed the fish to have some texture instead of just "melting away" in the sauce.

A lot of people had been asking me where do I get this Persian cuisine inspiration from. The answer is I read about this wonderful Persian restaurant named Sofreh located in Brooklyn, New York. I was fascinated by the beauty of the dishes that had been presented.

That's when I start doing my homework, as in, researching, understanding and experimenting. Persian cuisine isn't new. It is just not that well known to the world. I thought of introducing this amazing cuisine to you lovely people in this Xmas season. I hope that you can put some of these dishes on your dinner table and wow your guests and families instead of the usual Xmas dishes. I am not saying that the Persian dishes I had made is anywhere perfect as compared to the ones in the restaurant either. I just hope I can introduce these lovely Persian dishes to you lovely people.

My daughters, despite not eating anything spicy (and super picky when it comes to food), literally lick their plates when I served them this dish. It is really that good. The fish just melt in your mouth and the stew is one umami bomb. I really hope you will make this dish for your Xmas dining table as well. Let's get started with the recipe.


(Serve 6)

  • Herbs:

  • Alce Nero's Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3 TBSP

  • Parsley Coarsely Chopped, 3 Bunches

  • Coriander Coarsely Chopped, 3 Bunches

  • Scallions White & Green Parts Coarsely Chopped, 2 Bunches + More For Garnishing

  • Mint Coarsely Chopped, 3 Bunches

  • Dried Fenugreek, 1/3 Cup

  • White Pepper, 1 TSP Adjust To Preference

  • Stew:

  • Alce Nero's Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 TBSP + More

  • Yellow Onion Finely Sliced, 2

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Demerara Sugar, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Garlic Crushed, 5 Cloves

  • Turmeric Powder, 2 TBSP

  • Red Chili Flakes, 2 TSP Adjust To Preference

  • Vegetable Stock, 2.5 Cups

  • Tamarind Paste, 1/4 Cup Adjust To Preference

  • Fresh Lemon Juice, 1/2 Lemon

  • Fresh Lemon Zest, 1/2 Lemon

  • Canola / Peanut / Grapeseed / Vegetable Oil, For Frying

  • Cod / Halibut Fillets, 6


  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan, 2

  • Blender


  1. Pls visit my "How To Make Vegetable Stock" page for the recipe.

  2. Prepare the herbs.

  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil.

  4. Once the oil is heated up, add in parsley, coriander, scallions and mint.

  5. Saute until they start to stick to the bottom of the skillet. It should take about 15 mins.

  6. Add in fenugreek and pepper.

  7. Saute to combine well.

  8. Remove from heat and cover.

  9. Set aside for 5 mins.

  10. Prepare the stew.

  11. In another skillet over medium heat, add olive oil.

  12. Once the oil is heated up, add in onion.

  13. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

  14. Saute until the onion is lightly caramelized. It should take about 10 to 15 mins.

  15. Add in garlic.

  16. Saute until aromatic.

  17. Add in turmeric and 1 TBSP of olive oil

  18. Saute until well combine and aromatic.

  19. Add in chili flakes and saute to combine well.

  20. Deglaze the skillet with vegetable stock.

  21. Bring it up to simmer.

  22. Allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 mins.

  23. Remove from heat and transfer this stew into the herbs mixture.

  24. Return the skillet back over medium heat.

  25. Add in tamarind.

  26. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and sugar.

  27. Stir to combine well.

  28. Add 6 more TBSP of olive oil.

  29. Bring it up to a slow simmer.

  30. Turn the heat down to low and cover.

  31. Continue to simmer for about 1 hr or until the oil separates and float to the top.

  32. *Stir occasionally to prevent burning.*

  33. Lastly, add in lemon juice and zest.

  34. Carefully, transfer into a blender.

  35. Blitz until smooth.

  36. Taste and adjust the seasonings again with salt, pepper, sugar and tamarind.

  37. Transfer into a large bowl and set aside.

  38. Prepare the fish.

  39. Using a clean skillet over medium heat, add in 3 TBSP of oil.

  40. Heat the oil up to almost smoking point.

  41. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper.

  42. *Make sure the fish is at room temperature. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper before seasoning.*

  43. Place the fish, skin side down, away from you, onto the skillet.

  44. Using a slotted spatula, gently press the fish down.

  45. *This will prevent the skin from shrinking.*

  46. Continue cooking until bottom is crispy and brown. It should take 4 to 5 mins.

  47. *Do not try to disturb the fish.*

  48. Using a slotted spatula, flip the fish.

  49. Tilt the skillet and baste the fish with the liquid.

  50. Continue cooking until bottom is lightly browned.

  51. Repeat the process for the remaining fish.

  52. Transfer the sauce onto serving plate.

  53. Place the fish onto the sauce.

  54. Garnish with some finely chopped green parts of scallions.

  55. Serve immediately.

That was my 1st attempt at making this dish. The skin crumbled tho.

That was my 2nd attempt. The fish just fell apart as soon as I tried lifting it up.

I even made pasta with the sauce. The sauce is indeed fabulous. You really need to give this dish a try.

#persian #cod #halibut #ghaliehmahi #tamarind #herbs


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