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Fish veracruz

With Simon Holst

This fish and tomato mixture is different, delicious and easy. The addition of a few dried chillies and some chopped coriander leaf give it a deliciously spicy flavour Mexican recipe, but can be omitted completely if you prefer.

You can use any firm fleshed type of fish you like - groper, monkfish, terakihi and snapper are great although they tend to be more expensive than say ling, warehou or even deep sea cod which all work well too. Remember that as with any fish dish, the trick is to avoid overcooking!

For 3-4 servings:
Cost per serving: $4.00
Time to prepare: 20 minutes


1 medium-sized onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp oil
2 dried red chillies* (or 1/2-1 tsp chilli powder)
1 green pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp each oregano and salt
400g can whole or diced tomatoes in juice
500g firm fleshed fish fillets, cubed
1-2 tsp minced coriander leaves
1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice

*I use dried red chillies about 75-100mm long, they don't seem to be as hot as the tiny red ones.


Peel, quarter and slice the onion and peel, crush and chop the garlic while the oil heats in a large frypan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion softens.

While the onion cooks, slit then de-seed (this reduces their "hotness") and chop the chillies and halve and slice the green pepper (discard seeds and pith). Add the chillies (or chilli powder), green peppers and the bay leaves to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the green pepper is soft, then add the cumin, oregano and salt.

Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Crush or roughly chop the whole tomatoes (if required) and add them to the pan with about half the juice.

Allow the mixture to come to the boil, then gently stir in the cubed fish. Simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring once or twice to turn all the fish pieces, for about 5 minutes or until the largest cubes of fish are just cooked. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coriander and lime or lemon juice.

Serve immediately on rice, accompanied with a green salad or some lightly cooked vegetables.

(TX: 6 September 2011)