Skewered tamarind fish with dried-lime butter and chives

Skewered tamarind fish with dried-lime butter and chives

Kabab-e mahi

Mark Roper

For fish kebabs you need a firm, meaty fish, such as rockling, hapuka or blue-eye, or an oily fish, such as swordfish, marlin or even tuna. The sauce here is a little bit fancy, for when you want a change from plain lemon wedges.

Dried limes are available from Middle Eastern food stores and are worth hunting down.


Quantity Ingredient
1.2kg rockling fillet, skin removed
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
50ml hot water
120ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 onion, grated
12 bay leaves
rice, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
fresh herbs, to serve
flatbread, to serve

Dried-lime butter

Quantity Ingredient
1 dried lime, cracked
100ml water
50ml verjuice
1/2 lime, juiced
360 grams unsalted butter, diced and chilled
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives


  1. Remove any stray bones from the fish and cut it into 24 large chunks, then transfer to a shallow dish.
  2. Whisk the tamarind paste with the hot water until dissolved, then whisk in the oil and turmeric. Stir in the grated onion and pour this mixture over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. While the fish is marinating, make the dried-lime butter. Put the cracked dried lime into a small saucepan with the water, verjuice, lime juice and thyme and simmer vigorously over a high heat until the liquid has reduced by half. Strain and discard the solids, then return the liquid to the pan. Add half the chilled butter, then lower the heat to very low and whisk vigorously until the mixture comes together as a creamy emulsion. Slowly drop in the remaining butter, whisking all the time, until it has all been incorporated. Remove from the heat and keep in a warm place until ready to use.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat your barbecue or griller to high. Thread the fish chunks onto 6 metal skewers, interspersing 2 bay leaves on each. Grill for 4–5 minutes, turning a few times to prevent them burning, and brush with the marinade as they cook.
  5. Pile the skewers onto a warm platter. Stir the chives into the dried-lime butter and spoon over the fish. Serve with your choice of rice, lemon wedges, fresh herbs and plenty more warm flatbread.
Middle Eastern
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