Bahraini-Style Baked Hammour & Dakkus

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)

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