Light and flaky white-fleshed fish make a brilliant kofte, especially when simmered in our take on chraime, traditionally a Sephardic sauce usually paired with fish fillets. We served this dish at our dinner hosted by the JCC in San Francisco.
Black & yellow spice
2 Tablespoons black cumin, toasted and coarsely ground
1/2 Tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and coarsely ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
For the chraime
1 large red bell pepper – washed, sliced
1 large tomato – peeled and sliced
1 small onion – sliced
2 cloves garlic – chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tablespoon black & yellow spice
For the kofte
1 pound raw white fish (snapper, grouper, bass, etc.) 1/4 inch dice (about the size of a corn kernel)
1 large white onion – diced, sautéed, and cooled
1/4 bunch parsley leaves – chopped
1 thick slice of white bread (no crust) – soaked in water and then drained and crumbled
1 clove garlic – minced
1 teaspoon shabazi spice
Cilantro leaves to garnish
Cook all of the chraime sauce ingredients in a pan until softened, then add enough water to obtain a sauce. Season with salt to taste. Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat to thicken and blend flavors.
Gently and thoroughly mix all of the kofte ingredients together and form into small patties with your hands. You’ll get about 15. If your fish is not sticky enough and doesn’t come together into balls add 1/2 to 1 whole beaten egg to act as a binder.
Sear the fish kofte in plenty of olive oil until brown on both sides then place in the chraime sauce. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and lemon juice.