4.0/5 rating (8 votes)

Zambezi Baked Sea Bream

Shama with relish

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 2
  • Dietary Info LACTOSE-FREE
  • Prep 5 mins
  • Cook 20 mins
Zambezi Baked Sea Bream

Sea bream stuffed with onions, peppers and tomatoes then smeared with a spicy fish masala and baked.

Hari says

Exploring the world for new and exciting recipes is always something that fills me with joy and this dish is no different. It comes from Zambia and in my work with WaterAid I have had the privilege to cook it under the strict instruction of a true Zambian food lover.

Chileshe is a field worker for the charity and he let me into a few secrets, firstly the rice is the main part of the meal and is wholly different from the rice we are used to in the UK. The rice has a fragrance, texture and flavour that is impossible to replicate so I am on the hunt for some of this rice called Mongu which comes from the west of Zambia, or Nakonde rice which comes from the north. Well versed in how tricky it is to cook great food when you have no access to clean water, I think the cooks in Zambia are gifted people.

This method is a classic way to cook fish in Zambia and it would traditionally be done over hot coals. The fish also tends to be freshwater fish and works beautifully with the spices. Fresh water fish is a bit of a delicacy and not everyone’s first choice when it comes to fish due to the strong flavour. So yes, I have had to amend the recipe and make a few tweaks so you lot can enjoy a truly beautiful baked fish dish.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 2 whole sea bream (sea bass fillets if you prefer)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • 1 red chilli
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Half a lemon
  • Fresh coriander (optional)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes

Fish Masala

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp methi/dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1-2 tsbp vegetable oil


  1. Heat your oven to 180ºC
  2. Remove any scales, clean and wash the fish. With a sharp knife make 3 or 4 slits on the outside of the fish on both sides. Set to one side.
  3. In a pestle and mortar crush the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and place into a bowl.
  4. Chop the curry leaves and add to the bowl with the turmeric, chilli powder and methi. Stir in the oil to make a paste.
  5. Slice the ginger, garlic and chillies.
  6. Chop the peppers and tomato, slice the onion and mix with the ginger, garlic and chillies.
  7. Smear some of the spice mix inside the fish and then stuff it with the onion mixture. Smear the remaining fish masala all over the outside of the fish.
  8. Place the fish onto some foil and fold it to seal neatly.
  9. Place of a baking sheet and cook for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. This can also be cooked on the BBQ for a smoky flavour.
  10. Once cooked, remove from the oven and open up the parcel with will be aromatic and delicious. You can put this under a hot grill for a few minutes to crispy up if you want to.
  11. Serve with some cooked rice, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of coriander. I also like to add a few chilli flakes.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)13
of which saturates (g)2.6
Carbohydrates (g)0.6
of which sugars (g)0.3
Fibre (g)0.1
Protein (g)16
Salt (mg)0.78
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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