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, 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


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

Keywords: Morrocan Fish Recipe, Cod Recipe, Fish Fillet Recipe, Braised Fish Recipe

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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. I never write recipe reviews, but had to do this one. This is truly one of the best things I have made and it is an excellent way to do something different with fish. My husband and son raved about it,. I doubled the recipe and made some modifications. I started with a 12 inch cast iron pan but had to move half the sauce to another 12 inch saute pan once it was time to add the fish. I should have just started with two pans. I used a thick cut salmon fillet (about 4 lbs across four pieces) so gave it five extra minutes. I probably could have added only an extra three minutes. I used one red bell pepper and one yellow bell pepper. I only had three tomatoes on the vine (a fourth would have been ideal). Finally I only had frozen minced garlic, so did not have any fresh garlic to be sliced. Not sure if this affected the flavor in any way. I definitely encourage that you try this!

    1. Wow! You made my day, Wendy-Anne! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your cooking notes!

  2. I have a question: My husband & I aren't fond of chickpeas and I have read that lentils are a good substitute. I would like to try this but have no idea of the amount of lentils I should use. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi, Dixie. We have not tested this recipe with lentils, but I did a little research and I think using a can of brown lentils in place of the chickpeas may work. If you give this a try, please stop back and share your thoughts!

  3. Hi Suzy! I have made this recipe several times, it is delicious! I want to make it for a crowd and would like to know if I could bake it in the oven rather than on the cooktop?
    Thanks!
    Helaine

  4. This recipe looks great! I am wondering if this can be made in advance and reheated? Lots to cook for Passover and hoping to make some things in advance.

    1. Hi, Nanda. That my be possible, but I've never tried making this one ahead, myself. If I was going to give it a go, I'd probably only make the saucy chickpea and tomato mixture in advance, and wait to cook the fish in it until just prior to serving. The fish will cook rather quickly (10-15 minutes).

  5. I love this dish! So simple and easy and quite flavorful. I served it with freekah and that paired nicely. This is a keeper!

  6. Ok, I have to say first that Ras El Hanout is my new favorite spice. I made your Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Couscous last week and then last night made this wonderful fish dish and I can confirm that it is indeed the BEST Moroccan Fish Recipe! All of your recipes are so flavorful, Suzy, and this one does not disappoint!

  7. Sounds good, but It would have been more helpful to have an actual recipe...ingredients quantities, cooking step outlined, etc. Thanks

    1. Hello! All of the information is there! If you click the "To Recipe" button right under the recipe title, you will see it.

    2. This was EXCELLENT!!
      Instead of the Ras El el hangout seasoning I used Lebanese 7 Spice seasoning (a recipe that I got from Middle Eastern Vegetarian cookbook which is an excellent cookbook, btw!) and it worked wonderfully.
      Thank you for this recipe! The soup base is an excellent flavor.

  8. We coated the fish with just a tiny bit of harissa before adding the spice mix (as someone suggested to me on Facebook) to bump up the spiciness a bit. It was delicious. If you use home-cooked chickpeas instead of canned, be sure to cook them longer than I did before adding them to the sauce. We ate it with homemade challah (not the best match) the first night, and had the leftovers with plain hulled barley (better), but I suspect an appropriate rice might have been best.

  9. As always, another excellent recipe. Easy and fast to make so good for a week night meal but delicious enough that it would be a good choice for company as well. The fish was cooked perfectly. Next time I’ll make a bit more sauce - it’s fine with the original amount but it’s just so delicious. Thanks again for your excellent recipes.

  10. Hi Suzy, I love all your recipes. Is the fish in this recipe fresh cod or salted cod, bacalao?
    Thank you

  11. Delicious! Love this recipe, especially with it being a one pot meal. I also made some adjustments, only because at home I try to cook vegetable forward so I significantly cut back on the cod (totally right choice as its meaty enough for the bold flavors) and added zucchini cut in large chunks so they didn't get completely mushy. This was also my first intro to ras el hanout. Loved it. Thank you for introducing me to this flavor profile.

  12. Just made this dish and it was absolutely delicious! This will definitely be my go to recipe when I need a quick dish and have a taste for fish.

  13. This was delicious! Made as written and my whole family loved it! Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Unfortunately the sauce overpowered the fish. I will try it again with a meatier fish and perhaps add some shellfish. The sauce needs something— haven’t figured it out yet. But I really appreciate your recipe.

  14. It also is incredibly delicious when you fry the fish in EVOO Private Reserve after you've coated it with the spices as per the recipe. I had extra cod that wouldn't fit in the pan as per the recipe-so I fried it. Didn't need to add anything else, it was TASTY!!
    Great recipe Suzy !!

  15. I am sure that your recipe is excellent as is, but I wanted to tell you how I adapted it because of the ingredients that I had on hand. I started with cod in the fridge, uncertain of what to cook. When I saw your recipe, I knew that it would provide a perfect guideline.
    I had the garlic, a yellow pepper and some quality pasta sauce (no tomatoes or paste). I also had a can of cannellini beans, so I proceeded with those ingredients to make the sauce. Without the Middle Eastern spice mix, I used red chile peppers, paprika and cumin. All was good until I tasted it: it was hot! So I cooked some brown rice to accompany it, then topped it with slices of avocado and a small dollop of sour cream. My husband doesn't like cilantro, but I added enough for us both to my bowl - sprinkled on top.
    It was delicious - a Southwestern adaptation of this excellent recipe. I will get the ingredients and try the original soon. Thank you!

    1. Hi Suzy, made your exact recipe tonight and had thumbs up from everyone at the table. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I liked it. I made it with cauliflower instead of chickpeas, but nevertheless it came out very well. My family like it very much. Thank You for the recipe.

  17. It would be helpful if you also list the measurements of the spices since every day grocery stores don’t have this obscure spice that’s called for in this recipe. I will just have to guess

    1. Hello, Ria. I'm not sure I understand your comment. All of the spice measurements are listed. If you hit the "To Recipe" button at the top of the post, you will be taken to the recipe card with all of that specific information.

    2. Rahls El Hanout is a blend available in Wal Mart, Whole Foods, Kroger and Publix. I've found it in all four places. as well as available on line thru Amazon.