Serves a Crowd

Egyptian Fried Fish Fillets

July 15, 2020
Photo by HajarPA
Author Notes

Middle Eastern food, and Egyptian food in particular, relies heavily on red meat. It's a sign of generosity to be served a meal with numerous meat dishes. Which is kinda funny, because the entire Middle East is bordered by beautiful, sparkling seas full of fresh seafood.

My husband hails from Alexandria, Egypt. A port city thousands of years old, named after Alexander the Great. This jewel of the Mediterranean has a long, illustrious, and incredible history spanning many civilizations.

What is Alexandria best known for today, you ask?

SEAFOOD, is the answer you'd get in Egypt.

Fresh caught seafood, prepared simply and with readily-available ingredients is what thousands of local Egyptians look forward to eating on summer vacations in Alexandria. Fish is prepared in endless combinations -- fried, butterflied and baked, grilled with a whole wheat crust and dunked in a vinegar/water/spice bath (yes, it's a thing).

This recipe is my classic anchor for an Alexandrian feast fit to serve royalty, but modified for our fast-paced western lives. I can build an entire seafood extravaganza around it, by adding shrimp, lobster, a tagine of calamari in honor of my hubby's birthday... or serve it alone midweek.

Spiced, cumin-laden and zesty fresh fillets, dipped in seasoned flour and fried until crunchy. It's like fish and chips -- but way more flavorful. In our home, we serve this with tahini sauce, Egyptian seafood rice (https://food52.com/recipes...), and a tomato-cucumber-onion salad. We never have leftovers.

Bel hana wel shefa (Arabic: enjoy it with happiness and good health)! —Hajar D.

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 6
Ingredients
  • Fish Marinade
  • 2 pounds white fish fillets (haddock, cod, or preferably tilapia)
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Fish Fry
  • 4-6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, optional (adds crunch)
  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, cumin, paprika
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Fish Marinade
  2. Clean and rinse fish fillets, cut into pieces small enough to fit your fryer or frying pan.
  3. In a food processor, add the onions garlic, spices, and lime juice. Mix until it forms a paste.
  4. In a container with a lid, add the fish and the marinade, coating all fish pieces evenly.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  1. Fish Fry
  2. When ready to fry, mix all the dry ingredients for frying.
  3. Heat oil on medium to medium high heat. Don't overheat.
  4. Coat the marinated fish with the flour mixture and gently lower into the oil.
  5. Cook until one side is golden brown, then flip over and cook until golden brown (about 4 minutes per side).
  6. Place on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep adding fish in batches until finished.
  7. Serve hot with lemon or lime slices, rice, and tahini sauce.

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