Tamarind Glazed Swordfish with Lime, Cilantro and Tamarind Sauce

July 16, 2010
1 Rating
Author Notes

The combination of primary ingredients for the sauce here is inspired by Dana Jacobi's Indonesian Beggars' Chicken clay pot recipe, which has been a favorite of my immediate family for several years. We use the sauce on chicken and fish - roasted, baked, broiled, grilled, you name it -- on a regular basis. Try it and you'll see why. The sauce isn't pretty, but it smells and tastes heavenly. Make sure to serve some brown rice or a grain with this. You'll want it, as a means to deliver more sauce. This glaze and sauce work really well with mahi mahi filets, too, by the way. Each side will need less time on the grill, of course. Enjoy!! ;o) - Antonia James —AntoniaJames

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a delightful dish for a warm summer night -- light, rich and tasty. It comes together easier than one might think and you will want to save that extra sauce for dipping. The complexity of the ingredients makes for a fireworks show on the palate and is really is true to its Indonesian roots. I only had one dilemma, friends called and wanted to come over and I offered dinner. Forgetting that I wanted to test this recipe I realized I didn't have enough to serve this wonderful dish as an entree. Change things up a little and it became an appetizer, and a great appetizer to boot. Don't forgo the pumpkin seeds and I went with a couple of Thai chile peppers too.- thirschfeld —The Editors

  • Serves 2 (with extra sauce leftover)
  • 3/4 pounds of swordfish steaks
  • 2 one-inch cubes of solid, seeded tamarind pulp (known in some shops as "tamarind paste")
  • 2 limes
  • Handful of cilantro, including stems
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, or more to taste, peeled
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed, or an equivalent amount of paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 or 3 medium shallots
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons (divided) organic soy sauce (one with a rich taste, and not too salty)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flavorless vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (or white wine)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
In This Recipe
  1. BEGIN TO MAKE THE GLAZE: Soften one of the cubes of tamarind paste in a small bowl with about two tablespoons of very hot water. Let it sit, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the sauce for the fish.
  2. MAKE THE CILANTRO TAMARIND PASTE: Put the cilantro, garlic, tamarind, 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon of soy sauce, the onion, shallots, anchovies or anchovy paste, and the juice of half of one lime into your food processor. Pull the tamarind apart into small pieces before putting into the food processor, to make sure there are no hard seeds in it. If you want heat, add a fresh chili that has been coarsely chopped.
  3. Process for about ten seconds, scrape down, process again, scrape down and, if necessary, process a third time. You want the pieces to be small and the mixture well combined, but you do not want a liquidy puree.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a small, heavy saucepan with a lid. Before it starts to smoke, add the onion, cilantro and tamarind mixture and stir well. Simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Put the lid on and set aside. It will hold, unrefrigerated, for a few hours.
  5. PREPARE THE FISH: Fire up your grill to medium heat or preheat your oven on the broiler setting. If broiling, put some foil down on the pan. Pat dry the swordfish steaks and sprinkle well with salt. Rub in the olive oil. Juice another half lime and set aside.
  6. FINISH MAKING THE GLAZE: Press the tamarind pulp through a fine strainer. Add the juice of half a lime and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Juice the other half lime and set aside.
  7. TOAST THE PUMPKIN SEEDS, IF USING: Preheat the oven to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment, on the top shelf of your oven, turning once, for about five minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and toss in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or more to taste. Put back in the oven on the parchment-lined pan for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  8. COOK THE FISH: When the grill or broiler is hot - you want your coals to be white -- cook the fish on one side for 3 -5 minutes minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks and on how well you like your swordfish cooked.
  9. While the fish is grilling, bring the sauce to a good simmer over medium heat. Add the rice wine and cook for a minute or two. (When I broil, I don't pierce the foil, so that I can collect the juices, which I then strain and add to the sauce at this point.) Taste the sauce and add more lime juice -- or a pinch of sugar if it's too tart -- and salt, to taste.
  10. Flip the fish over and baste with the tamarind glaze. Cook the second side, then flip once more and baste again, cooking only for about ten or fifteen seconds.
  11. Serve with the sauce. Garnish with the tamari roasted pumpkin seeds, if using.
  12. Enjoy!! ;o)

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Recipe by: AntoniaJames

When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in Boulder County, CO, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)