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Moroccan Fish

Moroccan Fish is a classic Israeli dish that comes from the Israeli-Moroccan community. This authentic recipe poaches tilapia in a spicy tomato sauce, using both dry and fresh peppers.

Moroccan fish in a white serving dish

The first time I ever tasted Moroccan fish was in Haifa, at the house of an old friend of the family.   

When she served the fish, she told me it was sweet fish from the KinNeret (Sea of Galilee).

It took me a minute to realize sweet water fish was fresh water fish.

It took me much longer to realize that this fish was Galilean tilapia, one of the three main types of fish caught in the Kinneret since in Biblical times.

The next time I had it was at my aunt’s house.

It became my brother Aaron’s favorite type of fish, but my aunt refused to give my Mom the recipe. Instead, it became a bribe to get us to travel to her more often for Shabbos.

We didn’t know what the fish was called, my aunt just called it tilapia. I assumed my aunt had made it up, not remembering that I had eaten it years before.

My mom tried to replicate the flavor, but with no luck.

That is, until we were talking and one of us got the idea to google it. Lo and behold, I found the name and a recipe to go along with it!

Traditionally, Moroccan fish uses a lot of oil, but as an American, I just cannot imagine cooking with so much oil. 

So, I’ve adapted this Moraccon fish recipe, which keeps the great flavor but cuts the calories.

If you’re interested in some authentic Moroccan recipes, you should try Moroccan Meatballs with Olives and Moroccan Chicken with Olives.

Recipe Tip:

While this recipe is traditionally made with tilapia, it is delicious with cod, salmon, and pretty much anything else.

Also, if you don’t have dried red pepper on hand, you can use pepper flakes. 

I’ve also used extra tomato paste when I didn’t have tomatoes on hand and it came out great.

Yield: 4 servings

Moroccan Fish

Moroccan fish in a white serving dish

Moroccan Fish , as far as I can tell, comes from the Moroccan-Israeli community and is arguably the most popular way Israelis make fish. It can be served as a main dish, but is most often served as a first course.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 - 5 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup water (355 milliliters)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 dried hot peppers or 1 tablespoon of hot pepper flakes
  • 4 or 5 pieces tilapia fillet
  • salt


  1. Coat the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of oil. Cut the sweet pepper into thin strips and fry.  
  2. Add tomatoes and garlic to the pot and lower the flame.
  3. Add the water, tomato paste, paprika, turmeric, dried hot peppers and bring to a simmer.
  4. When all the ingredients have incorporated into a sauce, add the tilapia and poach until cooked. Add salt to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 59g

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Thursday 26th of December 2019

Just wanted to say.... delicious!!! Thank You!!! Merry Christmas... Peace xoxoxo


Thursday 26th of December 2019

I'm very glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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