Saturday, 16 November 2013

Cooking 5 Star Fish and Seafood Meals at Home

Fish top the list of super foods, a nutrition dense, high protein food choice 

Fish top the list of super foods, a nutrition dense, high protein food choice. Fish is packed with vitamins and minerals, and a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish can help to protect against a range of diseases, from cancer to heart disease, depression to arthritis. Fish are a rich source of vitamins A, D and E, and essential omega-3 fatty acids extremely beneficial for healthy brain, eye and nerve development in babies and children. They are also heart healthy with full research support that eating fish reduces the risk of cancer and arthritis. Two servings of fish a week is good for getting all the benefits that fish offers.

Karachi being a coastal city offers a great harvest of different kind of fish and seafood. As compared to red meat, fish meat are not very expensive. They are easy to cook and can be turned into a range of creative dishes and are cheap if cooked at home. However, in most homecooking with fish, we either deep fry them with spices or make salaans out of it. Often we  rely on pricey restaurants to serve us delicately prepared fish and seafood dishes. Well no harm in it, but it will be more rewarding and easy on our budgets if we learn to cooking few different cooking style of fish and seafood at home and serve the same delicately Italian, French or Mexican style dishes at your own dining table. 

So,  this blog is  completely dedicated to sharing some perfected and my favourite recipes that are a regular part of my day to day cooking and when I have guests. Fish taste best when it is cooked using a method that protects its nutrients from destroying. Grilling, pan searing, sauting and  baking are some of my favourite techniques for cooking fish.  I learned these techniques from Chef Instructor Celine, during my course at Natural Gourmet Institute of Culinary Arts. 

I use oven and stove top griller for most of my fish and prawns main courses.

For cooking fish we first need some good fish, and then choose a cooking technique and marination accordingly. 

 Roughly Fish can be categorized into five groups.

Dark and oil rich: anchovies, bluefin tuna, grey mullet, herring, mackerel (Atlantic, Boston, or King), Salmon, farmed or King (Chinook), sardines, skipjack tuna
2. White, lean, and firm: catfish, grouper, haddock, Pacific cod, Pacific halibut, Pacific rockfish, sole, striped, swordfish
I recommend these for most of the grilling
3. Medium color and oil rich:  Coho salmon, mahimahi, paddlefish, pompano, wahoo, yellowfin tuna
4. White, lean, and flaky: Atlantic croaker, sea bass, flounder, rainbow smelt, red snapper, tilapia, rainbow trout, whiting
5. White, firm, and oil rich: albacore tuna, white sea bass, Chilean sea bass, cobia, lake trout, lake whitefish, Pacific escolar, Pacific sablefish, white sturgeon.

For most of the recipes here, I would recommend to go for the easily and fresh available specie from fish markets that includes: red snapper, cod, King fish (surmai), rahu, becti, barracuda. Don’t compromise on quality and associated high price when choosing to cook fish. Fish is one of those things where you just have to pay more to get the best results. Finally if you divide the total cost between servings it will always be 1/4th or more of what you pay for a similar meal at fine dining restaurants.

Oven Baked Red Snapper:

I generally cook this when for 3-4 people with some vegetable, quinoa and pasta sides, makes a totally stunning dinner/lunch. This very delicious over baked red snapper makes a a very healthy, high protein, and low fat main course and can be cooked with any size or kind of hard flesh fish.

I select fresh out of the days catch a big 3 KG red snapper or Kingfish and have it dressed in fillet lengthwise.

Oven Baked Red Snapper


1.5-2 Kg of fish fillet either cut in steaks or the whole lengthwise fillet
Juice of 1 big lemon
2 tsp light soya sauce
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp chillie flakes
minced fresh Cuban Oregano (omit if you don’t find it)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Mix all the spices and rub over the fish and leave for 2-3 hours inside the fridge in summers and outside in winters.

 3 big onions sliced in thick rings

½ KG or 5-6 tomatoes sliced

3 big limes sliced
Chopped fresh oregano (used dried if you cant get fresh)

 Cooking Instructions:

-       Line a baking try with aluminium foil and grease it with extra virgin olive oil. Now spread 3 sliced onion and a 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil/oregano or both
-       Place the sliced tomatoes and limes on top of onions. Sprinkle salt and fresh ground black pepper
-       Now put the marinated fish on top of this bed of vegetable
-       Pre heat over to 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Bake in the bottom rack of the over for 20-25 minutes and 7-10 minutes on the top rack with the top griller on, only for browning the top of the fillet.
-       The fish should be all flaky and moist from inside cooked in the marinate and flavoured with juices from the lemon and vegetable beneath.

Serving Idea:

-       Serve the entire baking tray on the table right from the oven putting wooden place mat underneath the tray.
-       For sides you can make wholewheat pasta or quinoa grain with roasted garlic or just stir fried or sauted vegetable.

Grilling Fish and Prawns:

Grilling is one of those techniques of cooking that preserves the nutrition, is quick and brings out  food that is visually pleasant and taste super. Grilling seals the juices and flavours of meat inside leaving it flaky and crispy with the mouth watering grill marks on the outside. A one inch fish steaks should be grilling precisely 5 minutes on each
side until the flesh looks firm and opaque. Stove top griller is the best thing that can happen to me since mostly I cook a limited quantity of meals. In Pakistan Prestige makes stove top griller, they are good enough to cook a grilled meal for 4.

Here goes a couple of great grilled fish recipe:

Grilled Fish Steaks

Grilled fish steaks:


-       4 steaks or fillet of any firm white fish (red snapper, Kingfish or becti are great choices). Wash and dry excess water using kitchen towel.


A delicious steak depends more on the quality and freshness of the meat. I often just use simply black pepper corn sea salt and olive oil/pure butter to marinate steaks, it works great to bring out the natural flavours of the meat.

- 2 tsp garlic paste
-1 tbps light soya sauce
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp red chillies flakes (adjust quantity as per your taste
- ½ tsp ground black peppers
-salt to taste
- chopped fresh dill (soya
- chopped fresh oregano (optional)
-3-4 tbsp virgin olive oil

Cooking instructions:

- mix all spices garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, chillies, soya sauce, olive oil and rub lightly over the steaks and leave to marinate for 2 hours.
- Just before grilling, add chopped oregano
- On a well oiled and heated stove top pan griller or an outdoor griller, grill the steaks/fillet 5 minutes each side for a 1” thick cut. Spray a little olive oil while grilling.

Over cooked fish are never tasty, so just cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. A good fish steak is moist and flaky from inside and lightly crispy from outside.

While serving sprinkle chopped dill and some freshly cracked black pepper, slice of lemon, and sauted/steamed

Grilled Jumbo Prawns:

You can impress and stun your special guests by serving these beautifully grilled and delicately spiced jumbo prawns and simple most recipe. I select the U10 category of freshly caught Jumbo Prawns, these are 7-10 in a KG and 2 in a serving is good enough with some sides. I generally serve  1-2 of them paired with a medium sized fillet of grilled (above recipe) of fish fillet. Makes a big awesome meal.



1 kg/ 8-10 jumbo prawns U10 washed devined with tail on,
sea salt
Freshly cracked black peppers
 Chopped garlic

Sweet thick soya sauce (omit if you don’t want the sweetish savory taste)
Extra Virgin Cooking Oil

Cooking Instructions:

-Rub all the spices on the prawns and marinate for an hour.
- On a hot oiled stove top grilled put the prawns and grilled them 2-3 minutes in each side.

Serving Ideas:

Serve with stir fried vegetable topped with toasted nuts, or on top of fettucini pasta dressed with a home made anchovy sauce or pesto.

Grilled Large Prawns

Seafood Chowder:

Seafood Chowder

A totally hearty, delicate tasting wholesome soup that makes a perfect meal with wholegrain toast for lunch or a starter for dinner.


-       ½ KG Potatoes peeled and cubed
-       1 medium sized onion
-       A strip of seedweed (optional)
-       1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
-       ½ KG very small shelled shrimps (can use frozen as well)
-       1 cup chopped fish any fish flesh will do, I save the tail part of some odd pieces from the fish when I get them dressed for steaks, and use them for soups.
-       Garlic chopped
-       ½ cup lebaneh (greek yogurt, or saur cream)
-       Salt, pepper
-       Butter 2 tbsp
-       10-12 cups of stalk vegetable/fish/chicken (can use cubes as well), can omit and use plain water if using anchovy paste

Cooking Instructions:

-In a large pan, boil the potatoes, onion, garlic and seaweed, till the potatoes are very mushy.
- While potato is boiling Marinate the fish and shrimps in garlic and salt and sauté them lightly in butter and keep aside.
- Sir in the broth the anchovy paste and using a hand beater or a hand held smoothie blender blend the potato mixture to a thick creamy consistency.
-Now stir in the lebaneh/saur cream, remember cream will raise the calorie count
- let it cook for 5 minutes or until boiling
-Not add the sauted fish and shrimps alongwith the butter in which they are sauted, stir well, let simmer for few minutes.
-Serve piping hot sprinkled with fresh cracked peppers, and a twist of lemon juice
-I sometime save a portion of shrimps, saute them in pure butter and garnish each bowl with 1-2 of these.

Mediterranean Style Fish Stew With Roasted Cashews

This is by far the most fastest cooking fish stew that I ever cooked.
For this you can choose the most cheapest and easily available Panguses, if you don’t want to get pricey cuts of  becti and red snapper.


-       ½ KG fish fillet bones and skin removed, can use the regular bone in cut as well
-       1 kg ripe red tomatoes chopped
-       1 big onion chopped
-       1 full tbsp fresh chopped garlic
-       ¼ cup pitted olives
-       ¼ cup capers
-       Red chillie flakes
-1 tbsp chopped spring onions or chives
-       ½ copped oregano and basil or at least one of it
-       salt
-       1/3 cup olive oil
-  1/4 cup roasted and chopped cashew nuts for garnishing

Cooking Instructions:

-       wash,  drain and dry fish fillet
-       quote them in garlic and salt and pan sear them for 2 minutes each side set aside.
-       In a big sauce pan sauté the onions when transparent add garlic and sauté until garlic gives out fragrance
-       Now add chopped tomatoes, chillies, and salt, cover the pan and on medium flame, let it cook until tomatoes are all soft and saucy
-       Now add the oregano, basil, olive and fish and let it all cook for another five minutes
-       Garnish with more fresh oregano/basil and capers and chopped cashew nuts
-       Serve with plain boiled rice, garlic friend rice, pasta or quinoa grain.

 Pan Seared Fish/Shrimps

Can be cooked with prawns, shrimps and fish fillet any that you choose to cook with


-1/2 KG fish/shripms
-1/4 cup chopped Olives
- 4 medium chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

- fresh chopped basil
-2 tbps butter
-salt and red pepper

Cooking Instructions

- Saute onion, garlic in a hot melted butter
-Now add balsamic vinegar and chopped olives
- add the prawns/fish and cook for 5 minutes and add tomatoes
-when the fish turn opaque take off from heat

Serve garnished with dill, chopped basil with sauted vegetable, and pasta.

Pan seared fish cubes with creamed spinach and peas

Panseared prawns and becti served with garlic sauted bok choi


  1. Reading your blog and specially sea food recipes i so feel like cooking..

    can you let me know where in karachi can i find prestige grill for stove??

    Also i read extra virgin oil isnt good for cooking as it has low burning temp and other category of olive oil should be used....can you mention/recommend which brand extra virgin oil you are using??

    Also i have a suggestion for you.. if you use some apps like myfitnesspal there is a section of creating recipes..if you put your recipes in it by just entering ingredients it will give you its nutritional values in number like how many calories of a particular meal and how much carb, protein when you will write that it is balanced meal you will be sure of it..i m sure you know your stuff right but you can give it endorsement through numbers too and you can post them here with your recipe..but i know its an extra amount of work and bit of hassle and this just a suggestion :)

    Its a nice blog and i really enjoy going through it,

    1. Thankyou Sameen, thankyou for visiting the blog. I use extra virgin oil mostly for marination. I use Mondial for all different kind of olive oil.
      The prestige stove top grillers are available at Agas, Hyperstar and Habit.
      I know of these apps and use it often. Thanks again. Enjoy cooking!!

    2. Thanks for replying and for the information. Which brand shall I use for olives ? Do you use bottled ones ? Which brand ?


    3. Hi, I dont go after any brands, but buy them from reputable stores. I use open as well as bottled ones.

  2. Love your blog - what appetising, healthy recipes. Look forward to seeing more.

  3. Hi Farah,
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    1. Thakkyou I have send you a message. Farah