Fish Cakes in Chermoula Tomato Sauce

Cook time:
Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 large bunch - cilantro, chopped, 1/2 bunch - flat leaf parsley, chopped, 1/2 - serrano chili, 3 cloves - garlic, halved, 1/2 inch nub - ginger, diced, 1 teaspoon - cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon - coriander seeds, 1/2 - preserved lemon, diced, 1/3 cup - extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon - smoked paprika, Pinch of cinnamon, 1 pound - barramundi, skinless, 1 1/2 cup - fresh, chunky breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup - onion, minced, 1/3 cup - fennel fronds, chopped (+ more for serving), 1/2 teaspoon - smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon - chermoula, 2 large - eggs, 1 cup - onion, diced, 1/2 cup - fennel bulb, diced, 2 tablespoons - chermoula, plus more for serving, 1/2 teaspoon - salt, 1 - 12 ounce can, whole tomatoes,
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Fish Cakes in Chermoula Tomato Sauce

  • 20m prep
  • 40m cook
  • Serves 4
    Jenny Huang

  • Pairs with Pinot Gris

  • Perfect for Weeknights

  • Perfect for Family Time


For the chermoula:
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 serrano chili
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1/2 inch nub ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, diced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cinnamon
For the fish cakes:
  • 1 pound barramundi, skinless
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh, chunky breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup fennel fronds, chopped (+ more for serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chermoula
  • 2 large eggs
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chermoula, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce can, whole tomatoes

Flavors from afar blend to bring barramundi and spices together.

Saveur Award-Winning blogger Jenny Huang of Hello My Dumpling created this stunningly delicious recipe along with providing food styling and photography. Whether you’re introducing new flavors to your family or simply interested in trying ethnic cooking from far flung regions, this dish should be high on your list. It works equally well as a hearty appetizer or dinner centerpiece. Kids (and husbands alike) love the tomato-y richness this recipe marries with the undeniably adorable, appealing shape of a classic fish cake—so what better way to get them to eat their veggies AND their omega-3s!? . . Curious about how to pronounce “Chermoula?” Clearly, you’re not the only one! . . Click to hear the correct pronunciation.

  1. Step 1 Lightly toast the cumin and coriander in a pan over medium high heat until fragrant and slightly darkened. Grind using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add the cilantro, parsley, serrano chili, garlic, ginger, and preserved lemon to a food processor. Pulse to dice the ingredients and gradually drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cumin, coriander, and the rest of the spices. Pulse until a chunky sauce is formed.
  2. Step 2 Use a knife to chop the fish very finely, add to a medium sized mixing bowl. To the bowl, add the breadcrumbs, onion, fennel, paprika, chermoula, and eggs. Mix together well, use your hands to shape the mixture into 8 cakes.
  3. Step 3 Heat a light layer of olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add 4 of the cakes to the pan and sear on each side until browned. Repeat with the other 4 cakes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Step 4 Add more oil if the pan is dry, heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onions have begun to soften. Add the fennel, cook for another 8-10 minutes until everything has softened. Add the chermoula and sautée for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add more salt if needed.
  5. Step 5Gently place the cakes in the tomato sauce. Add about a cup of water to the pan, just enough to cover the cakes halfway. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, until the cakes are firm but bouncy. Serve with more fennel fronds and chermoula.
  6. Notes:Chermoula (Arabic: شرمولة‎‎) or charmoula is a marinade used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. It is traditionally used to flavor fish or seafood, but it can be used on other meats or vegetables. Common ingredients include garlic, cumin, coriander, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Regional variations may also include pickled lemons, onion, ground chili peppers, black pepper, saffron, and other herbs.In Sfax, Tunisia, chermoula with cured salted fish is often prepared during Eid al-Fitr. This regional variety is composed of dried dark grape purée mixed with onions cooked in olive oil and spices such as cloves, cumin, chili, black pepper, and cinnamon. A Moroccan version comprises dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper.
4.4/5 (7 Reviews)
Suggested sides
  • Crudité
    with Hummus
  • Spiced
    Chickpea Salad

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