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Spicy Fish With Tahini Sauce


15th April, 2014
Mario Karam of Mario's Kitchen
Tuesday 15th April 2014


There's nothing like a whole fish served at the table to really impress your dinner guests!  Today, Mario presents his spicy snapper with tahini sauce, another tribute to his Mum's traditional Lebanese home cooking.  - Lucy


Amazing Spicy Fish with Tahini Sauce by Mario Karem of Mario's Kitchen. Styling - Stefanie Ingram. Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

There’s no way I was going to leave this one out! It’s a total tribute to my mum, who used to present this with such relish and ceremony at so many special dinners. It’s kind of her signature party dish, and as far back as I can remember, this was the centrepiece for many a celebratory meal. It graced so many happy occasions, that for me it really symbolises celebration.

It truly is a showstopper, and even though it’s actually very straightforward, it still brings the house down because it’s so sumptuous and eye-catching.

This fish dish is the perfect example of the way mum puts food together. It always looks stunning on the table, and always elevates a meal into something really special.

My mum has an amazing instinct for food. She knows how to blend flavours, and how to add the personal touches that transform a traditional dish into something really elegant.

It’s simple and authentic, but with a few little details that make it jump out. It’s rich, tender, and just a bit spicy.

Thanks mum!


Fresh Fish and Ingredients. Styling - Stefanie Ingram. Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.


2kg whole snapper, gutted and scaled
7 x cloves of garlic
1 x cup of tahini paste
1 x teaspoon hot chili powder
1 x cup of slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup of water
Olive oil
Sea salt
Lebanese bread


Make sure you get hold of a really fresh whole snapper – the fresher the better. Check that the eyes are clear and not milky, and make sure it’s been gutted and scaled.

Rub the fish with olive oil and some of the lemon juice, then place the fish on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake it in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes. The flesh should be white and flake apart easily under a fork.

Heat a pan on medium and add the slivered almonds. Toast until golden. Be careful as they can burn very fast!

Place some Lebanese bread in the oven to crisp and turn golden.

Crush the garlic and mix it with the remaining lemon, tahini paste, water and sea salt.

Once the fish is baked, place on serving platter, pour the tahini sauce on top, and garnish with parsley, slivered almonds and hot chili powder. Serve hot with the crispy Lebanese bread, or if you prefer, steamed rice.

Then stand back in reap the glory!

HUGE THANKS Mario and Liz of Mario's Kitchen for sharing their family recipes with us this month, and to Luisa Brimble and Stefanie Ingram for the gorgeous shots!  For more foodie inspiration from Mario and a peek at some of the incredible events he caters, be sure to check out the Mario's Kitchen Instagram account!


Marios Seasoning the Spicy Fish. Styling - Stefanie Ingram. Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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