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. 

Braised cod fish in pan with Moroccan flavors. Moroccan fish

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, like my Moroccan Fish Kofta, this version incorporates amazing Moroccan flavors without being too spicy! Best part? It takes little prep and cooks in about 30 minutes! 

Braised cod fish in pan with Moroccan flavors

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.

Ingredients for Moroccan fish recipe

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.

Cod fish seasoned and prepared in baking dish

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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Braised cod fish in pan with Moroccan flavors. Moroccan fish

BEST Moroccan Fish Recipe


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4.8 from 75 reviews

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve immediately with your favorite crusty bread, grain, or rice.

Notes

  • 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

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. PDL says:

    I didn’t make it spicy enough for my sons. What more should I add to get the real spicy Morroccan flavour? Fennel? Leek?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hello! We highly recommend adding a bit of harissa paste to this to amp up the spice level!

  2. David says:

    A couple more comments:
    If you can get fresh harissa, it goes very well with this dish. Also, I served it with homemade roti, which worked well. Whole wheat sourdough pita would probably also be a match.

  3. Meredith Bartek says:

    This looks wonderful! My husband and I enjoyed a trip to Morocco last March and I brought back a lot of spices from the market. Sad to say, a lot of the food was less yummy than this but harissa was always on the table! I love your cookbook and your on-line posts. You make it easy to create wonderful meals.

    1. TMD Team says:

      What a sweet message, Meredith! Thank you!!

  4. Maryvel says:

    I tried this recipe for dinner today and was completely blown away! This was the most delicious and flavourful fish I’ve ever had! Had never tried Ras El Hanout or even herd of it so was a bit scare I wasn’t going to like it, but actually did and also think that’s really what makes this dish so delicious! So thank you so much for sharing this recipe and so many others with us! That’s definitely a keeper

    1. TMD Team says:

      What a wonderful review! Thank you so much, Maryvel!

  5. Amber Da Ponte says:

    Can I substitute the cilantro with anything? My husband and I do not like cilantro 🙁

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Amber. You can always omit the cilantro here in a pinch. You could also try a bit of parsley in it's place, if you'd like.

  6. Addie says:

    WOW! My husband and I decided to start the Mediterranean diet, and this was the first recipe we made. I was nervous if either of us would like it, but it might be the best thing we’ve ever cooked. The flavor is incredible. I can’t wait to try more Mediterranean dish recipes.






  7. Carol Hill says:

    I made "Moroccan Braised Cod with Red Bell Peppers and Chickpeas" for dinner tonight. It was easy and delicious. I used Ras El Hanout spice blend. Very nice! I purchased it online as part of a custom four pack. I just had one large piece of cod, so I scaled back the sauce. It worked well.

  8. Sheila says:

    I would like to substitute lentils for chick peas. Can you reccomend an amount & bezt type please?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Sheila. I would suggest using black, brown or green lentils here in place of the chickpeas, as they hold their shape the best. We've never tried this recipe with lentils, though, so it's hard to recommend and exact amount. You may just have to experiment a bit. Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Jody says:

    This is an excellent recipe - SO good! I used salmon and paired it with some homemade crusty sourdough bread. 🙂 Delicious!






  10. Paula says:

    This was so good! It was so warm and inviting without being too heavy. It was easy to make, too! We served it over cous cous and it was great. It was even good the next day. We reheated it slowly on the stove and the fish broke into pieces but kept a nice texture.






  11. Mindi says:

    Loved it! Will make again. Thank you for sharing it.

  12. Eric Pedersen says:

    Delish recipe. And foolproof. Made it with my daughter and will remember thee experience. Thank you Suzy!






  13. Harry says:

    This was good and very flavorful but mine came out too watery. Should I use less water next time?

    Thank you!






    1. TMD Team says:

      Sure, Harry. You can reduce the amount of water next time if you prefer.

  14. Marina says:

    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.
    Thank you.
    Marina.






    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Marina!