Persian Tamarind Fish

Persian Tamarind Fish

In this complexly flavored and highly sophisticated dish from the cookbook author Louisa Shafia, tamarind, caramelized onion, ground almonds and barberries are made into a thick and tangy paste that gets spread over fish fillets before baking. Thinner fillets work better here than thick, center-cut pieces. You want more surface area on which to spread the herbal barberry mixture, which can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. If you can't find dried barberries, use dried cranberries instead.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Put the barberries in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Rinse fish under cold water and pat dry. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides, brush all over with oil, and place fillets on a baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 hours uncovered, or up to 24 hours covered with plastic wrap.
  3. Step 3

    Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they start to darken at the edges, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until dark brown and reduced to half the original volume, about 20 minutes.
  4. Step 4

    Add garlic, almonds, drained barberries and 2 tablespoons tamarind to pan. (If using cranberries instead of barberries, add an additional tablespoon of tamarind.) Cook over medium heat until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Step 5

    Press barberry mixture on top of fillets. Drizzle with more oil and bake until fish is just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with any barberry mixture that fell off the fish, sprinkle with more fresh herbs, and serve with lime wedges.