Fabulous Friday Fish Night…Amazing Grouper

Oh, what a fabulous dinner…Nigella’s “Fear Free Fish Stew”.

I would have never suspected that such a wild combo of ingredients would be so good but I just tasted the sauce and it is a winner, easy to make ahead, can be stored in the fridge the day of or two days ahead, and can freeze for yet another preplanned company dinner. Be sure to get a good chunk of the best white firm fish that you can buy!

My small changes included 2 teaspoons of cilantro from a tube as I was out of cilantro, minced parsley, and I used smoked paprika (not hot) with a pinch of cayenne. The recipe from Nigella is a keeper dinner dish and the remaining sauce and rice was devoured for lunch by Michael.

Serves: 4 slightly adapted

  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large sweet potato (approx. 250g / 1¾ cups, diced)
  • A small bunch of cilantro (approx. 25g / 1 cup leaves)
  • approx. 1½ inches fresh gingerroot
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion (approx. 175g / 1⅓ cups, chopped)
  • 1⅔ cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 orange
  • 2 x 14 ounces tins of diced tomatoes (I only had one can so I substituted an equal amount of whole San Marzano tomatoes/hand squished)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree (tomato paste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1¾ pounds skinless firm white fish (in 1 thick piece or thick-cut fillets)


  1. Measure all of the spices into a little bowl, and then peel the sweet potato and cut into 1 cm /½ inch dice, and leave to one side. Finely chop the tender stalks from the bunch of coriander, to give yourself 3 tablespoonsful. Peel and finely grate the ginger, to give you 1 teaspoonful, and peel the garlic. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Fill a measuring jug with 400ml / 1⅔ cups cold water.
  2. Warm the oil in a heavy-based pan or casserole that comes with a lid (I use one of 22cm / 9 inches diameter). Add the onion, and cook it gently for about 20 minutes until it’s beginning to soften and colour.
  3. Finely grate in the orange zest, mince or grate in the garlic, add the chopped coriander stalks and the grated ginger, and stir everything over gentle heat, then add the spices.
  4. Tip in the diced sweet potato, and stir into the spiced onion over medium heat for a minute or so. Add the tinned tomatoes, and half fill the empty cans with your water and swill out into the pan.
  5. Spoon in the tomato purée, and add the salt and honey or maple syrup. Halve your zested orange and sqeeze out enough juice to give you a tablespoon and add that too, giving everything a good stir.
  6. Turn up the heat to bring to the boil, then clamp on the lid, tun the heat right down, and leave to simmer for 40-45 minutes until the sweet potato is completely soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. You can do all of this in advance, heating up when you are ready to cook the fish, or move straight on to the fish now.
  7. Cut your fish into large bite-sized pieces and add to the simmering sauce. Turn the heat down and put the lid on. Depending on how chunky or how cold the fish is, it’ll need 3-5 minutes to cook in this gentle heat. Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and let it stand for a further 2 minutes.
  8. Chop the leaves you have left from the stalkless coriander, and sprinkle over the stew on serving.

Link to Nigella’s recipe: https://www.nigella.com/recipes/fear-free-fish-stew