Margarita's International Recipes


Ghalieh Mahi

Fish with Herbs & Tamarind

Fish with Herbs & Tamarind

Ghalieh Mahi is a popular dish of fish cooked with cilantro, fenugreek and tamarind. It requires a white fish that is firm enough to withstand prolonged cooking - cod worked well for this recipe. I was quite happy with the results but specially with the leftovers - the flavors do need the time to marry. I used dried fenugreek, as it was easier, but I think it'd be much better with fresh leaves. You can find these at Indian markets. I also didn't use as much cilantro as the recipe called for - I'd bought some Italian parsley by mistake - but as the freshness of the cilantro is what makes the dish, don't skimp on it. Serve over white basmati rice.


Fish with Herbs & Tamarind


  • 2 lbs fillets of firm fleshed white fish
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, divided
  • 1 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper + more to taste
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped fenugreek or 2 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water


Pat dry the fish and cut into serving-size pieces (~5" x 3" rectangles or to taste)

In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour with 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp each of black and red peppers. Coat the fish in the flour mixture and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Dust off excess flour.

Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a sauté over medium heat. Working on batches, if needed, sauté the fish pieces on all sides until golden. Remove and set aside.

Clean the sauté pan and add the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp turmeric and stir. Stir in the garlic, turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and fenugreek. Turn heat to medium and continue sautéeing, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the tamarind concentrate with 1 cup hot water until diluted.

Add the tamarind water to the onions, turn heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.

Place the fish in the pan, season with salt and black and red peppers to taste. Add remaining 1/2 cup of hot water, if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.

Adapted from Azita Mehran's recipe at Turmeric & Saffron

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