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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.

500 g aubergine/eggplant/brinjal
4 dried apricot halves (optional)
30 ml coriander, finely chopped
5 ml ground cumin medium
10 ml lemon juice
10 ml olive oil
10 ml crushed garlic
15 ml peanut butter
60 ml plain yoghurt (optional)
2 ml salt
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 º C and line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Prick the aubergines all over with a utility knife and place them on the baking tray.
  3. Roast the aubergines until it is tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Larger aubergines will take longer to roast than smaller ones.
  4. In the meantime, soak the apricots for 10 to 15 minutes in a bowl of boiling water. 
  5. Transfer the apricots to a food processor and reserve the water.  You might need to add it to the pate if the paté is too thick.
  6. Chop the coriander finely and add it to the food processor.
  7. Cut each aubergine in half on a chopping board with a cook’s knife and scoop out the flesh with a table spoon. Discard the skin.
  8. Add the cooked aubergine flesh to the food processor.
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and puree the mixture using a pulse action until it is smooth.
  10. Add a little of the soaking water if the pate is too thick.
  11. Transfer the paté to a serving dish or container and serve immediately with crackers or fresh bread or use as a spread on a sandwich.

Store leftover paté in an
airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

6 servings.

Adapted from Gabi Steenkamp’s recipe.



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Seafood Vegetable Soup

It will be hard to outsmart this seafood soup with vegetables which covers two courses of the menu in one bowl!

Prep time       20 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Soup base
15 g butter
125 ml chopped onion
125 ml chopped leek or additional onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
250 ml peeled and diced potato (1 x ± 200 g potat0)
500 ml water
1 bay leaf
2 ml salt
5 ml chicken or vegetable stock powder
2 ml dried origanum or mixed dried herbs
pinch grated nutmeg
good pinch white pepper
good pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
125 ml cream or coconut cream

Seafood mix
500 g fish and seafood including:
± 125 g boneless, skinless hake or any favourite white fish
125 ml white wine or water
± 125 g cleaned prawns
± 125 g cleaned calamari tubes or rings
± 125 g cleaned mussels

Vegetable mix
± 600 ml vegetables including:
50 ml corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned and drained)
50 ml peas (fresh or frozen)
50 ml finely diced carrot (fresh or frozen)
50 ml finely diced celery
50 ml white button mushrooms, sliced or diced (optional)
15 g Butter
25o ml water
50 ml finely shredded baby spinach (fresh or frozen)
50 ml snipped spring onion
black pepper for serving

  1. Place the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, leek, garlic and potato. Stir and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, bay leaf, stock powder, herbs, nutmeg, salt, white and cayenne pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup base with a stick blender until quite smooth.
  4. Stir in the cream or coconut cream and remove from heat.
  5. Dice the fish and place in a second saucepan with the wine or water.
  6. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  7. Rinse the remaining selected seafood and add to the saucepan. Bring to boil and remove from heat.
  8. Place the corn, peas, carrot, celery and mushrooms if used in a third saucepan and add the butter. Cook and stir over moderate heat for 5 minutes and add the water.
  9. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  10. Add the prepared fish, vegetables, spinach and spring onion to the soup base.
  11. Stir to combine and reheat over moderate heat until the soup almost starts to boil.
  12. Serve warm.

6 to 8 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

Seafood vegetable soup

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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.

Also see the recipes for Best-ever Batter-fried Fish and Batter-fried Calamari Rings for other types of batters.

500 g prawns, deveined and shelled
75 ml cake flour
75 ml corn flour (Maizena)
5 ml salt
200 ml ice-cold still or sparkling water
Canola or sunflower oil for frying

To serve
Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce
Soy SauceWasabi

  1. To make the batter, combine the cake flour, corn flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the water a little at a time while stirring, until the batter has a medium consistency – it must look a little thicker than buttermilk.  Do not worry about the lumps.  Set it aside.
  3. Place the prawns in a colander, rinse well and pat dry.
  4. Pour oil to a depth of 5 cm in a large saucepan and heat to moderately hot.
  5. When the oil is ready, add a few of the prawns to the batter and stir to coat well.
  6. Lift the prawns out of the batter with a slotted spoon and allow the excess batter to drip off.  Slowly lower the prawns into the oil.
  7. It is important to fry the prawns in batches to ensure that the temperature of the oil remains constant.  Do not overcrowd the pan.
  8. Fry the prawns until golden and crisp on all sides.
  9. Remove the tempura from the oil with a 2nd slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil.
  10. Transfer the tempura to a serving dish and set aside.
  11. Do the same with the rest of the prawns.
    Cover the dish with foil and reheat in a preheated oven at 160 ºC until warmed through.

The batter can also be used to coat skinless and boneless fish steaks that has been cut up into bite-sized pieces, or calamari rings.  Also fresh vegetables such as onion cut into rings, green beans, red, green or yellow sweet pepper, julienned carrots, etc.  The fish or calamari must be thawed.

Prawn Tempura


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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?

1. Use it as a marinade for meat.  Toss chicken in Caesar dressing and let it refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Then grill or roast to your heart’s content. All the garlicky goodness of the rich dressing soaks into the meat while tenderizing it and making it ridiculously moist.

2. Toss it with vegetables before roasting.  Pick your veggies — broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables, and potatoes all work well — and then toss them with dressing instead of olive oil and roast until they’re extra-caramelized and crispy.

3. Use it as a dip for crudité.  Just like crisp lettuce loves Caesar dressing, so does just about any other raw vegetable. Pour it in a little bowl and get dunking.

4. As a dressing for pasta or potato salad.  If you’re making pasta or potato salad, ditch your usual dressing and use Caesar instead. It’s thick enough that it will coat every inch of your ingredients and instantly boost the flavor.

5. Spread it on a burger bun or sandwich bread before assembling. Forget plain ol’ condiments like mustard or ketchup and slather Caesar dressing on your burger bun instead. Or spread it on your bread before making pretty much any sandwich — it plays well with turkey, ham, roast beef, and any mix of veggies.

6. Use it instead of mayo for tuna or chicken salad. Caesar dressing makes for a much more interesting tuna or chicken salad. Replace the mayo in any recipe with it and it will be one you actually want to eat.

7. Make a better coleslaw. Just like for pasta or potato salad, using Caesar dressing for coleslaw is a win. It adds instant flavor and brings that touch of richness that coleslaw desires. Try it instead of mayonnaise or buttermilk next time and you won’t be disappointed.

8. Spread it on fish before baking. Use Caesar dressing as a quick and flavorful sauce for fish fillets like salmon or cod. Just spread some evenly over the top of each piece and bake as usual.

9. Drizzle it over corn on the cob. Corn on the cob is wonderful with nothing more than a little butter and salt, but try switching up your routine next time by drizzling a little Caesar dressing over the cooked ear.

250 ml mayonnaise
30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2.5 ml teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 olive-oil-packed anchovy fillet, patted dry and minced
30 ml freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
15 ml fresh lemon juice
5 ml Worcestershire sauce

  1. Combine all the ingredrients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe from the Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe.


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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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Tuna 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.

300 g potatoes, peeled and cubed
250 ml water
2,5 ml salt
15 g butter
2.5 ml salt
2 x 170 g tins of tune in brine, drained
30 ml  spring onion,  finely sliced
1 extra large egg
50 to 100 ml cake flour

Crumb coating
200 ml cake flour
1 ml salt
1 ml freshly ground pepper
1 ml garlic and
 herb seasoning
1 extra large egg
15 ml water
250 ml fresh breadcrumbs (see note)
sunflower oil for frying

  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 drained 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.


  • 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 tuna with tinned salmon or crab. Be sure to remove any skin and bones before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.  Cooked and flaked white fish can also be used.
  • 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.