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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Summer Baked Whole Fish & a Side Serving of Keeping it Healthy this Ramadan

Serves 4  | Easy
The goodness of this dish lies in its simplicity
It is light, fresh and super delicious! Spills out summer goodness.
When it comes to fish and seafood, my preferred approach is keep it simple. These gems of the sea are good however way you prepare them. With fish in general, the added flavours that bring out its goodness are simply these: you will need a bit of acidity, lemon pairs very well and brings out the flavours of the ocean. Herbs go very well with fish and add an appetising aroma to the whole dish. I love coriander with fish and seafood. Parsley is also very good. Dill bring out the flavours of oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trouts...etc and garlic is perfect with fish. You will need a bit of oil to keep the fish moist and add depth to the flavour. Olive oil is very healthy, and works very well with fish. For an Asian impression try sesame or peanut oil. That is about it really. Anything else is just an added extra. However, less is more with fish as you don't want to mask its original and unique flavour. For more on fish and seafood check out the understanding food section for an in depth read about selecting fish and seafood, assuring freshness and different preparations....

This recipe is simple, and very easy to prepare. Best of all, this recipe is super healthy, and is a good option if you are trying to keep it light and watching the scales. Light food is optimal during the hot summer days, the last thing you want is heavy rich foods that will leave you feeling extra full and heavy. This is especially true for this Ramadan. The days are long and you need to get all the nutrients your body needs to keep strong. Although light, this dish does not compromise on the nutrients your body needs.

On the same note, here are some pointers on how to keep it healthy this Ramadan:

Just because you are fasting all day, doesn't mean you must have a feast of rich foods for Iftar and the rest of the evening. Bear in mind that all the eating you will be doing is in the evening, giving your body very little time to process it all.
Don't shock your body with excess amounts of fat coming from fried foods, and extra rich mains and desserts. Try and keep it balanced. Opt for grilled, baked foods, with a small serving of light carbs and a good serving of salad. When it comes to carbs, in general it is best to go for those that grow under the ground, like potatoes (baked not fried), carrots as well as beans that are also rich with proteins. Go for brown rice rather than white, by the way they almost taste the same. Brown rice is full of fiber which aids in the digestion process.

When it comes to fats go for polyunsaturated fats rather than saturated fats. These are healthier, aid your body in dropping bad cholesterol levels and when used moderately actually assist your body in burning fat! These include, olive oil, nut oils, and seed oils. Skip ghee, butter and hydrogenated spreads!

Drink lots of fluid and water after iftar. If there is one thing you need to stock up on, it is most definitely water... Re-hydrate your body and make sure you do, don't underestimate the importance of staying hydrated, especially that now the weather is very hot. Stay in the shade if need to be outdoors. Limit your salt intake as it makes you thirsty.

Finally, eat small meals every 2-3 hours rather than shocking your body with one huge meal. This will give your body a chance to pace itself, and process the food better. This will also help your stamina for fasting the next day. Since the day is very long, make sure to have a light meal for sohoor and drink up. Although hard during Ramadan, but fight the temptation to consume a lot of sweets. Sugary foods cause fluctuations in your body's sugar levels, leading to hunger and craving, which makes the next day hard for you.

Hope this helps! Good luck :)

Place fish on top of lemon slices
for aromatic steam
Back to the recipe,
Tip I place herbs and lemon slices at the bottom of the baking dish and place the fish on top. This elevates the fish from the bottom of the baking dish allowing room for aromatic steam to cook the fish to a flavoursome perfection.

You Need
4 whole medium fish, I used Sea bream. (sea bass, shiri, or small hamours also work)
2 large lemons, cut into circles
3 large green chilies, clices thinly
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 bunches coriander, finely chopped
Olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
4 bay leaves
Sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 tbsp DS Fish spice mix or your regular fish spice mix
Toasted Pine nuts to taste

Rinse fresh fish with cold water, pat dry and score the skin

Start by cleaning your fresh whole fish, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Rub the outside and inside of the fish with lemon wedges. Score the fish horizontally and rub the skin and cavity with DS fish spice mix. Place a slice or two of lemon inside the cavity, top with chopped coriander, 1 bay leaf, chili and garlic slices. and set aside.

Fill cavity with herbs, chili and lemon

Rub the inside and outside with DK Fish spice mix

Drizzle some olive oil at the bottom of your baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and top with lemon slices. Sprinkle all with chopped coriander, sliced garlic and chilies. Place the filled fish on top of the lemon wedges and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and chili. Season with salt & black pepper, drizzle lightly with olive oil. add the lemon juice, cover and bake in 350F oven for 35 minutes.

Place fish on top of lemon slices and top with remaining herbs and aromatics
When done the flesh should flake easily. broil for 2-4 minutes to slightly brown. To serve, place fish on serving platter and drizzle dish juices over it to moisten. sprinkle with coarsely chopped toasted pine nuts. serve along side oven roasted potatoes, and sauteed vegetables.

To serve, remove from baking dish, place on serving platter
and drizzle with pan juices


Have you ever tried cooking whole Sea Bream? If you have, did you like it or do you prefer another type of fish? Share your thoughts with me, I would love to know, keep me a comment below :)

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