119. Libya: Fish with Spiced Tomato Sauce

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Libya is an ancient crossroads of civilizations. On the Libyan coast, you can some of the finest Roman and Greek ruins in existence, among them Leptis Magna, Cyrene, and Sabratha. Libya also has some of the most beautiful corners of the Sahara Desert, from seas of sand the size of Switzerland and as well as mysterious caravan towns (Ghadames) and an isolated black-as-black volcano (Wawa al-Namus) in the desert’s heart. A country with so beauty much to explore… yet so much unrest. The country has been as unstable ever since the revolution 2011. The whole country remains off-limits to travelers with chronic instability and ongoing conflict.

Schermafbeelding 2018-01-19 om 00.56.10

Things you didn’t know about Libya:

  • Much of the central and eastern area of the country is covered by the Libyan Desert. The Libyan Desert is one of the most sun-baked and arid places on earth. There is no average rainfall — the land may go for decades with no rain and the highlands for five to ten years without it
  • Tripoli the capital is also known as the Mermaid of the Mediterranean for its turquoise waters and whitewashed buildings.
  • The Berbers identify themselves with their village or tribe before their country.
  • Food is eaten with three fingers on the right hand. The left is considered unclean. Good manners dictate you leave a little food on your plate to indicate that your host is a gracious and generous provider.
  • Saving face is important to Libyans, who are non-confrontational. They avoid disagreeing or saying no

This Libyan fish is really good the spicy sauce is really tasty and a great change from what I normally do with fish.


  • 1 kg filleted firm white fish, portioned into 4
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh coriander, for sprinkling
  • For the sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 t harissa
  • ½ t ground coriander
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • ¾ cup water
  • Sea salt, to taste
  1. Sprinkle the fish with sea salt and set aside while preparing the sauce.
  2. Using a pan large enough to take the fish, fry the garlic in the oil until lightly colored. Stir in the paprika, harissa, coriander, cumin and tomato paste.
  3. Add the lemon juice, water and a pinch of salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Wash the salted fish and pat it dry with paper towel.
  5. Add the fish to the sauce and simmer gently, turning once, for 5 to 10 minutes or until just cooked.
  6. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

One thought on “119. Libya: Fish with Spiced Tomato Sauce

    Miran said:
    March 21, 2018 at 19:22

    oh yes…. klinkt eenvoudig en toch weer erg lekker !

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