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Raw Fish Is Delish!

If you are worried about embarrassing yourself in front of your date, or even worse, a client, because you do not know the difference between the terms carpacchio, ceviche or crudo on a restaurant menu, don’t fear, the answers are here.  Included in this post is basic info on some of the most popular restaurant options containing raw or partially cooked fish or seafood.  After reading this, you will be able to navigate a restaurant menu like a pro.  Not to mention using foodie lingo in conversations. Recipes containing raw fish or seafood can be prepared at home with great success, as long as the freshest and highest quality fish or shellfish is used. Be sure to read the post How To Handle Raw Fish before trying these recipes at home.

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How To Handle Raw Fish

While raw fish may seem like a strange dinner choice for some, chefs around the world are constantly experimenting with new ways to include raw fish and seafood on restaurant menu’s. Read the post Raw Fish Is Delish! for basic info on the most popular recipes where raw or partially cooked fish is used. The photo’s are guaranteed to convince you to try it at least once!

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Build Your Own Bowl

A Poke bowl (pronounced PO-KEH) is a traditional Hawaiian dish. Although it has been around for decades, it is only about two years ago that is has become trendy world-wide.  A traditional Hawaiian poke bowl consists of cubed raw fish, often tuna or salmon, which is seasoned with soy sauce and served on a bed of steamed sushi rice.  The key is using high-quality fresh fish that’s meant to be eaten raw, i.e. sashimi grade.

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Fish And Rice Terrine With Prawn Sauce

Very neat to serve as a warm first course or light meal. A fragrant white rice such as Basmati rice or jasmine rices gives excellent results but brown rice, cooked until very tender, may also be used. If preferred, the prawns in the sauce may be replaced by shredded smoked trout or salmon, a small tin of anchovies drained, or 250 ml sliced and sauteed mushrooms. Left-over fish terrine may be served cold with bread or salad and pickles.

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Poor Man’s Caviar (Aubergine Paté)

A paté or dip made from the flesh of roasted aubergines with ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. The paté looks similar to caviar, but does not have the same price tag.  Pickled mustard seeds (pictured below) are also known as poor man’s caviar due to its texture which is similar to that of caviar.   It is a tongue in the cheek expression for having a rich man’s taste but a poor man’s budget.

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Tempura Prawns (Batterfried Prawns)

Tempura is an authentic Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. Tempura most likely established itself in Japan as a result of the Spanish and Portuguese missionaries and traders, who introduced deep-frying in oil during the late 1500’s.   Tempura batter is a light batter which is made from cold still or sparkling water and wheat flour. Eggs, bicarb of soda or baking powder, oil, and/or spices may be added to the batter. Tempura batter is traditionally mixed in small batches using chopsticks for only a few seconds, leaving lumps in the mixture that, along with the cold batter temperature, result in the unique fluffy and crisp tempura structure when cooked. The batter is often kept cold by adding ice, or by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice in it.

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Eggless Caesar Dressing

Caesar dressing, whether store-bought or homemade, is a glorious thing. Its garlicky, cheesy, and with the unmistakable anchovy flavor and creamy texture it is the key to one of the best classic salads around. But if it’s so good, why limit it to only salad? In fact, why not use it to make a variety of other dishes infinitely better?

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Oven-roasted Prawns With Mango Salsa

This recipe gives a contemporary twist to seafood dishes with trendy ingredients available in most quality supermarkets.  The flavour and texture of fresh mango is preferable but if it is out of season, canned mango may be used in the salsa. I omitted the rice and served the prawns and mango salsa on a bed of fresh basil leaves.

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Batter-fried Calamari Rings

Purchase the largest calamari rings available for the neatest end result. The tenderness of the calamari is often unpredictable but allowing the rings to thaw  completely, frying only until cooked and adding salt after frying will prevent them from becoming tough.

Be sure to try the recipes for Prawn Tempura (Batter-fried Prawns) and Best-ever Batter-fried Fish for different types of batter.

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Salmon Fish Cakes

A fish cake is similar to a croquette (see the recipe for Potato Croquettes here), consisting of a filleted fish and potato patty sometimes coated in breadcrumbs or batter, and fried.  The fishcake has been seen as a way of using up leftovers that might otherwise be thrown away.

500 g potatoes, peeled and cubed
200 ml water
2,5 ml salt
15 g butter
30 ml parsley or spring onion, finely chopped
2 x 220 g tins pink salmon, drained
1 extra large egg
50 to 100 ml cake flour

Crumb coating
60 ml cake flour
1 ml salt
1 ml freshly ground pepper
1 ml garlic and
 herb seasoning
1 extra large egg
15 ml water
100 ml dried breadcrumbs
sunflower oil for frying

To serve
tartare sauce (try this home-made Tartare Sauce)

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and transfer them to a saucepan.
  2. Add the water and salt and bring it to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender and dry.
  4. Add the salt and butter and mash the potatoes very well.
  5. Transfer the mashed potato to a medium mixing bowl and set it aside.
  6. Add the salmon tuna, spring onion, salt, egg and cake flour mix well.  Set it aside.
  7. To prepare the crumb coating measure the cake flour and spices onto a large plate.
  8. Break the egg into a soup plate and add the water. Mix well with a fork.
  9. Measure the breadcrumbs (see note) and transfer it to a 2nd large plate.
  10. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and form each portion into a neat pattie or cake with floured hands.
  11. Coat each fish cake with the flour mixture, then dip it in the egg mixture and lastly coat it with bread crumbs.
  12. Transfer the fish cake to a Tupperware container and set it aside.
  13. Do the same with the rest of the fish cakes.
  14. Seal the container airtight refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  15. To fry the fish cakes, pour enough oil into a saucepan to cover the bottom of the pan and heat the oil to moderately hot.
  16. Fry 4 fish cakes at a time in the oil until light golden brown on all sides.
  17. Lift the fish cakes out of the oil and transfer it to a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
  18. Do the same with the rest of the fish cakes.
  19. Transfer the fish cakes to a serving dish and serve immediately or re-heat covered with foil in the oven at 160 ° C for 10 to 15 minutes.
  20. Serve with couscous or pasta and condiments such as sweet thai chilli sauce, tartare sauce, etc.

4 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking page 155.

Photo credit:


  • To make fresh breadcrumbs, process stale slices of bread into crumbs in a food processor. Freeze leftover bread crumbs for use in another recipe.
  • Substitute the salmon with tinned tuna, tinned crab or cooked white fish.
  • To bake the fish cakes in the oven, spoon heaped spoonfuls of the mixture 2 cm apart on a baking tray line with a Wizbake baking sheet.  Use the back of the spoon to flatten the heaps into patties.  You can also use cupped hands.  Bake the fish cakes for 10 to 15 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
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Tilapia With Tomato Parsley Orzo & Capers

Tilapia, also known as St. Peter’s fish, is mainly freshwater fish inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes.  Tilapia is popular because it is a mild flavored, white-fleshed fish that is available throughout the year at a competitive price. The most popular product form is skinless and boneless fillets.

250 ml Orzo or Risoni (a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice)
125 g cherry tomatoes, halved
60 ml parsley, finely chopped
30 ml olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
400 g Tilapia
45 ml cake flour
200 g butter
30 ml white wine
30 ml capers

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the Orzo or Risoni and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Combine the tomatoes, parsley and 15 ml of the olive oil in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  6. While Orzo or Risoni cooks, place the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Season the Tilapia on both sides with salt and pepper as well.
  8. Add the Tilapia to the flour and dredge, pressing to adhere on both sides. Shake off any excess.
  9. Heat 100g butter and 15 ml olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  10. When the butter is foamy, add the Tilapia and cook until opaque and flakes easily, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  11. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside.
  12. Add the white wine, capers, and juice of 1 lemon to the pan in which you cooked the Tilapia and cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds to warm through.
  13. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining butter to melt.
  14. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  15. Divide the Orzo or Risoni and tilapia evenly between 2 plates.
  16. Pour the sauce over Tilapia and serve.

2 servings.