Fish with Tamarind Sauce Recipe | PBS Food

This fish with tamarind sauce recipe appears in the "Coastal Favorites" episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School.


Yield: Serves 4



  • 1/2 cup tamarind paste
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 flaky white fish fillets (6 ounces or 170 grams each), such as red snapper
  • Gulf-Style Parsley Salad (recipe follows)
  • Gulf-Style Parsley Salad
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fine-grain bulgur
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bunch radishes, greens attached (about 8)
  • 4 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 2 bunches)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place tamarind in a medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 15 minutes; mash tamarind. Strain through a sieve, pressing on solids and scraping the bottom of the sieve to remove pulp. Discard the seeds and set strained liquid aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato, sugar, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and reserved tamarind liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. Add more water if sauce becomes too dry. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt and pepper; keep sauce warm.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sear fish skin-side down, turning once, until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Spoon sauce over fish and serve with parsley salad.
  4. Gulf-Style Parsley Salad: Place onion in a small bowl and cover with ice-cold water. Let soak 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
  5. Place bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse until water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl. Add tomatoes and lemon zest and juice; stir to combine.
  6. Remove greens from radishes. Thinly slice radishes using a mandoline and finely chop greens. Add radishes and greens to bulgur mixture along with parsley, mint, spices, oil, and reserved onion. Season well with salt and stir to combine.
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