Let me just tell you, this comforting, flavor-packed Moroccan fish recipe will change your fish dinner game forever! A simple braised cod recipe in a saucy chickpea, tomato and bell pepper medley with aromatics and warm Moroccan spices including Ras El Hanout. If you haven't tried it, you need to grab some Ras El Hanout ASAP!
You can serve this fish with 15-minute couscous or your favorite crusty bread. I also like it over this rice. For starters, try Baba Ganoush and a big fresh salad like this simple Mediterranean tomato and cucumber salad.
To me, this Morrocan fish recipe is the kind of homey fish stew that you eat with close friends and family. Delicious. Saucy. And wonderfully messy!
You'd better be prepared with some homemade challah bread or your favorite crusty bread to sop up all the goodness!
My Jewish friends tell me that Moroccan fish may be served on Friday night for Shabbat dinner or even at Rosh Hashanah. It's that special!
I've done some research and found several variations of this Morrocan fish recipe. Some recipes call for baking, while others call for stove-top cooking. Some use a lot of paprika, and others are more heavy on the hot chili or cumin. Some include chickpeas, and others don't. And the fish choice may also vary from recipe to recipe.
But all the Moroccan fish recipes I reviewed gave off the same vibe: warmth and comfort! And that's what I went with in my own easy version here.
Don't worry, this version incorporates amazing Moroccan flavors without being too spicy! Best part? It takes little prep and cooks in about 30 minutes!
Ingredients for this Moroccan-Style Cod Recipe
This is basically a braised cod recipe with a big Moroccan twist! My cod fillet pieces were thin enough, so braising stove-top seemed to be the perfect option for a juicy delicious fish. And, as you can see in the photos, I added some chickpeas to make for a heartier fish dinner. Why not throw in a bit of plant-based protein to stretch the meal and make the perfect bed for our fish?!
So let's review the full list of ingredients for this Moroccan fish recipe:
- For the base or saucy part of this fish recipe: extra virgin olive oil, garlic, tomato paste (adds great depth), chopped tomatoes, red bell peppers, water (for the saucy part), and chickpeas (canned chickpeas or already boiled is what you're looking for here.)
- For the Fish: I chose cod fillet. You can change the fish option according to what you have--grouper, sea bass, or halibut will work (I don't typically use tilapia though). The important thing is that the fish fillets are thin enough to cook quickly (mine were about ½ inch in thickness).
-Moroccan Flavor Makers: this is where all the Moroccan warmth comes through! I went for something a little bit different. I did not rely too much on paprika, and I did not add any heavy amount of hot chili. For the star spice, I used Ras El Hanout--a wonderful blend of cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and a touch of cayenne. And I did add a bit of paprika and cumin as well.
How to Make this Moroccan Cod Fillet Recipe
This Moroccan fish recipe is fairly easy to make. Like I said earlier, it's a braised cod fillet recipe, so you'll be working stove-top and all you need is a braiser (something like this) or a deep pan with a lid. There are two components or two main steps here:
1) Prepare the saucy chickpea and tomato mixture. In this step, we start by cooking some garlic in extra virgin olive oil.
We build from there by adding tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and bell peppers. And after we get those cooking a bit, we add in chickpeas, water, and fresh cilantro. Season things up and add a bit of Ras EL Hanout (our star spice mixture!) Then, simmer, baby. Simmer!
2) Season and cook the fish in the prepared mixture. So, while the chickpea, tomato, and bell pepper mixture is simmering nicely, we hit the fish fillets up with salt and pepper and coat with a trio of spices: Ras El Hanout, cumin and paprika. It helps to drizzle a bit of quality extra virgin olive oil and give the fish a toss to make sure it's well-coated with the spices.
By the way, if you live in the USA, you can find spices including Ras El Hanout, and our olive oils and more at our Online Shop.
How do I know if my fish is cooked?
If you don't make fish often, you might wonder, "how do I know if my fish is cooked and ready?"
In this recipe, I used cod fillets that are about ½ inch in thickness. They should take 10 to 15 minutes to cook in the saucy chickpea and tomato mixture (the cook time might vary, depending on how thick your fish fillets are.)
When fish is ready, it will become opaque in color and will easily flake. Take a fork to the thickest part of the fish at a 45-degree angle, gently twist the fork and pull some of the fish up. It should easily flake. Under-cooked fish will still look a bit grey and will resist flaking. If that's the case, let it cook a bit more but watch carefully so that you don't end up overcooking your cod.
Interested in more Moroccan dinners? View our collection of Moroccan recipes here.
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BEST Moroccan Fish Recipe
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: serves 6
This delicious Moroccan fish recipe takes the fish dinner game to a new level of delicious! Braised cod recipe in a saucy chickpea, tomato, and bell pepper medley and lots of warm Moroccan flavors from Ras El Hanout, paprika and cumin.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Private Reserve EVOO)
- 8 garlic cloves, divided (4 minced cloves and 4 sliced)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 red pepper, cored, sliced
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cup water
- Large handful fresh cilantro (about 1 cup fresh cilantro)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 ½ tsp Ras El Hanout, divided
- 1 ½ lb cod fillet pieces (about ½ inch in thickness)
- ¾ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ lemon, sliced into thin rounds
- In a large pan with cover, heat 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve) over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking.
- Add minced garlic and cook very briefly, tossing regularly, until fragrant. Add tomato paste, diced tomato, and bell peppers. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, tossing frequently.
- Now, add chickpeas, water, cilantro, and sliced garlic. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Stir in ½ teaspoon Ras El Hanout spice mixture. Raise heat, if needed, and bring to a boil. Lower heat. Cover part-way and let simmer for about 20 minutes. (Check occasionally and add a little water if needed.)
- Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine remaining Ras El Hanout with cumin and paprika. Season the fish with kosher salt and pepper and the spice mixture on both sides. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Work the fish to make sure it's well coated with the spices and the olive oil.
- When ready, add the season fish to the pan, and make sure to nestle the fish pieces into the saucy chickpea and tomato mixture. Ladle a bit of the sauce on top of the fish. Add lemon juice and lemon slices. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low until the fish is fully cooked and flaky. Garnish with more fresh cilantro.
- Serve immediately with your favorite crusty bread, grain, or rice.
- Find our Private Reserve EVOO and spices including Ras El Hanout, cumin and paprika at our ONLINE SHOP!
- How do you know when fish is ready? When fish is ready, it will become opaque in color and will easily flake. Take a fork to the thickest part of the fish at a 45-degree angle, gently twist the fork and pull some of the fish up. It should easily flake. Under-cooked fish will still look a bit grey and will resist flaking. If that's the case, let it cook a bit more but watch carefully so that you don't end up overcooking your cod.
- How to Store Leftovers? Keep leftovers in a tight-lid glass container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Cuisine: Moroccan
Keywords: Morrocan Fish Recipe, Cod Recipe, Fish Fillet Recipe, Braised Fish Recipe
This was good and very flavorful but mine came out too watery. Should I use less water next time?
Sure, Harry. You can reduce the amount of water next time if you prefer.
Made it last night! It was DELISH!!! I just added a handful of lentils just because we like them.
I would be making it with chicken because you don't say I can't;-) Actually, everything I cooked following your recipe, Suzy, was very good. Your side is my go to when I need something exotic and great.
So glad you enjoyed it, Marina!
When you add the fish in, do you cook uncovered or partially covered?
Hi, Nanci. You don't have to cover the pan when you add the fish, but you can cover it part-way if you like.
This recipe is ghastly. Ended up modifying it a bit to save it. Ended up a salty mess from the cod.
This looks delicious, but I don't see where 67 carbs are coming from.
I found your site for I bought cod and couscous. I will make them tomorrow. I will update my review. Sounds like something I will enjoy. Thanks for your site.
Do you don't mention how to prepare the cilantro. Should it be chopped up first, or add the whole leaves?
Hi, Karen. We did not chop it here, but you certainly can if you prefer.
Easy and so good! I found a recipe for the spice mix and have plenty to make this again. I served over green lentils. A keeper!
This was amazing, 4th dish I make from you, I bought the book a week ago, and also some of the spices and Ras El Hanout was one of the ones available for purchase, the rest were sold out, but I made this tonight and me and my husband loved it, I used mahi mahi which is what I had on hand, but the taste was out of this world!!!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lucy! We hope to have all of our spices back in stock soon!
I do not have fresh tomatoes on hand . Can I substitute with canned diced tomatoes?
Hi, Debra. You can use canned diced tomatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups worth). You don't have to drain them, the fish will just be more saucy which is just fine 🙂
Can I substitute shrimp for the fish in this recipe?
Sure! I think that could work. Keep an eye on the shrimp as it will not take as long to cook as the fish.
This recipe looks delish
Do you think it would be tasty with salmon? I don't think salmon is typically used in Moroccan dishes but it is what I have in the freezer
Hi, Beth! Yes, I think that would totally work! Enjoy!
I added more lemon slices and a thinly sliced chilli.
I'll be making this regularly.
This really is the best fish recipe. 🙂 So yummy.
IT. WAS. DELICIOUS! I followed this recipe to the letter with 2 minor exceptions. I let the sauce simmer about 10 minutes longer to get the chickpeas good and soft. I also added roughly a TBS more of lemon juice than is typical for half a lemon.
I served it with basmati rice. For the rice I sauteed half of a good-sized onion, diced in ghee (roughly 1-1/2 TBS) until the edges were slightly browned and the onions somewhat golden. Then I sprinkled in half a teaspoon of Ras el Hanout to toast a little bit, added the rice, and allowed that to get slightly toasted....tossing nearly continually. I added a good sprinkle of garlic granules to finish the toss then added the water and cooked the rice as usual.
I wanted to keep eating and eating even though I was totally satisfied. That's how good it was.
Yay! Thanks so much for sharing, Rowen!
This looks divine! I want to try this recipe, but I can't have bell peppers of any color.
What would you suggest I use instead?
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, Suzy!
Can you tolerate mini sweet peppers? That's what I used. I like them much better than bell peppers because their skins are way less tough.
I can't tolerate bell peppers of any color, either, Karen. My typical substitutes for them are: zucchini, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, depending on the dish. For this dish, I'm planning on substituting carrots, sliced on the bias, and some onion.
Hope this helps!
Can we substitute other beans instead of chickpeas?
This is definitely one of the best fish recipes I have ever made, everyone loved it. Thank you Suzy for your wonderful recipes, I go to your site everyday and now have so many new recipes. This one is a must try, as are all of your recipes, have yet to find one I didn’t like.