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Recipe for Persian Fish Stew (Ghalyeh Mahi)


Persian Fish Stew is tart, a little bit spicy, and thoroughly mouth-watering. It has to simmer for a while, but goes together quite easily. Serve with plenty of rice to soak up the deliciously complex sauce. Authentic recipes for Ghalyeh Mahi call for fresh fenugreek greens, which aren’t readily available in Alaska. To capture the bitter and sweet elements of fenugreek greens, as well as their texture, I substituted 1 cup diced celery and 2 tsp. fennel seeds for 1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek greens. If you have fresh fenugreek, use that and leave out the celery and fennel. Online recipes also use water rather than fish stock as the liquid, and then thicken the broth with flour. By using fish stock, with its lovely texture and body, no additional thickener is necessary.


3 ounces tamarind paste
3 1/2 – 4 cups fish stock (see recipe below) or water, divided
3 cups diced yellow onion, 1/4” dice
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely diced celery, including leaves, 1/8” dice
1 tsp. salt
2 whole dried red chili peppers
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
3/4 cup roughly chopped garlic (2 heads)
1 pound halibut fillets or other boneless, skinless fish, cut into chunks



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