One of the most popular dishes in our house, and a lot of Bahraini households, is hammour (a fish also known as grouper). It’s a local, meaty fish and it’s a favourite for a reason — it’s delicious. There are several ways that it’s served, usually either pan-fried as a whole fish with skin-on, or gently roasted on a barbeque with smouldering coals.
Hot off the barbeque is a fantastic way to eat it, but since not everyone has ready access to that, I figured I’d showcase an alternative in the oven. I also wanted to show Bahraini Dakkus, a spiced tomato sauce we like to serve with fish.
You will need:
Serves 4, GF
- 4 hammour fillets*
- 2 medium red onions
- 1 lemon
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 bunch of coriander
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp black lime powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
Line your baking tray with aluminum, enough so you can fold it over the top and create a parcel.
Slice one onion and one lemon lengthways and lay them out, then lay your fish on top. Season with salt and pepper.
* if you can’t get hammour/grouper where you’re based, swap it for sea bass, cod, or another meaty white fish
Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C/350F.
Dice up your tomatoes and onions, then crush and dice your garlic.
Fry your onions off in a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown up.
Add your chopped coriander and spices to the mix and cook off the powder for a few minutes until it incorporates and forms a semi-paste.
Add your chopped tomatoes and stir, letting it all mix for 2-3 minutes.
Then add your tomato paste and salt to taste, about 1-2 tsp. Leave to simmer and reduce for 20 minutes.
Once your fish is ready, get it out of the oven. It will have half-steamed, half-roasted and will easily fall off the fork.
Once your dakkus is cooked, you can choose to blend it or leave it chunky. I like blitzing it a little bit to make it smoother, but stopping before its completely smooth.
I served mine on a bed of wilted spinach, but you can pair it with rice or vegetables. This made a fantastic light but hearty lunch for me.
You’ll have more dakkus than you’ll need for this meal, probably, but it stores well for up to a week in the fridge.
What’s your favourite way to eat local fish?
As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)