Halibut in Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Sauce Halibut in Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Sauce

Author: Canadian Living

Heat Rating: Medium The sweet-and-sour flesh of the tamarind tree seedpod is the flavour base for this lively yet mild sauce. Okra, a popular vegetable throughout South and Southeast Asia, thickens the sauce without starch. If you want a little extra heat, make a cut in each hot pepper from the base to the tip without breaking the tip.

  • Portion size 6 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: May 2003


  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
  • 2 stalks lemongrass trimmed
  • 2 lbs halibut fillets
  • 2 lbs grouper fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 thin slices gingerroot
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 6 red finger hot peppers peppers
  • 6 green finger chili peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 12 okra pods halved crosswise (optional)
  • 3 green onions cut_in 2-inch (5 cm) lengths
  • Coriander sprigs


In small saucepan, bring tamarind pulp and 2 cups (500 mL) water to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through sieve into bowl, pressing with spatula to extract liquid; discard solids. Set aside.

Pressing on side of knife, lightly crush lemongrass; cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.

Season fish with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cornstarch on plate; press both sides of fish into cornstarch to coat.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry sliced ginger until browned, 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, discard ginger. Reduce heat to medium; fry fish, in batches and turning once, until golden and fish flakes easily when tested, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spatula, transfer to paper towel-lined plate; keep warm.

Drain all but 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil from pan. Add shallots; sauté over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add hot peppers, lemongrass, garlic, minced coriander, minced ginger and shrimp paste; sauté, pressing down on shrimp paste to dissolve, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in tamarind liquid, soy sauce and sugar; bring to boil. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, for 3 minutes. Add okra (if using); cook, stirring, until okra is tender and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add green onions; cook for 30 seconds. Pour over fish. Garnish with coriander sprigs.

Nutritional facts <b>Per serving:</b> about

  • Sodium 647 mg
  • Protein 33 g
  • Calories 313.0
  • Total fat 13 g
  • Cholesterol 50 mg
  • Saturated fat 1 g
  • Total carbohydrate 15 g


  • Iron 19.0
  • Folate 11.0
  • Calcium 9.0
  • Vitamin A 13.0
  • Vitamin C 22.0
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Halibut in Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Sauce