Monday, September 19, 2011

Yemen: Mutaffaya (Fish in Bell Pepper Sauce)

Here is another dish from the Arabian Peninsula, from Yemen to be precise. It will also be added to the Cook Around the Globe roundup. The original recipe called for sea bass or grouper, but as I couldn't get either one at the store, I had to prepare the dish with haddock. The sauce had a nice mild flavor. However, the fish didn't pick up a much flavor from sauce as I had expected. Next time, I would season the fish a little before adding it to the sauce. Also, when you eat this dish make sure you have some nice fluffy bread to pick up all the sauce.


2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/3" dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/3" dice
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/3" dice
2-3 tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
2-3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 pound sea bass, grouper, or other white fish fillets

Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a wide enough pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Add black pepper, cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt, and stir. Add bell pepper and tomatoes and cook 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cover, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Stir parsley into sauce. Place fish in the sauce, making sure it is well covered. Drizzle remaining oil over, cover pan, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Turn fish over after 10-15 minutes. Serve fish with sauce and your favorite bread.