I know a lot of people are hesitant about cooking fish, and I do understand why, but this, my friends, is the recipe to allay your anxieties and free you from fear. Your fissues will be a thing of the past.

Fear-free fish stew


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • small bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 orange, finely grated zest plus 1 tbsp juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed or grated
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes (or ½ tsp fine sea salt)
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 750g/1lb 10oz firm white fish, in 1 thick piece or thick-cut fillets, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • freshly cooked black venus rice, to serve


  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole (I use one that is 22cm/8½in in diameter). Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until it’s beginning to soften and colour. Add the orange zest, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger.
  • Stir everything over a gentle heat, then add the spices. Tip in the sweet potato and stir over a medium heat for a minute or so. Add the tinned tomatoes, half-fill the empty tins with 400ml/14fl oz water and swill out into the pan. Spoon in the tomato purée and add the salt and honey. Add the orange juice and give everything a good stir.
  • Bring to the boil, clamp on the lid, turn the heat right down and leave to simmer for 40–45 minutes until the sweet potato is completely soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. You can do all of this in advance, heating up again when you are ready to cook the fish.
  • Add the fish to the simmering sauce. Turn the heat down and put the lid on. Depending on how chunky or cold the fish is, it should take 3–5 minutes to cook in this gentle heat.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and leave to stand for a further 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the stew and serve with the black venus rice.

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