Color & Control:

Persian Lime-Poached Seafood Stew Over Herbed Basmati Rice


3 cloves garlic
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (or any fresh herbs you like), chopped
1 dried lime (also known as Limoo Omani, Persian lime or black lime)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 plum tomato, cored and diced
1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more as needed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Vietnamese chili garlic paste or crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound seasonal, sustainable lean, firm-flesh fish fillets (traditionally tuna is used, but now I use halibut, mahi mahi, or even spot prawns when they are in season), cut into 1 1/2–inch pieces

For serving:

Cooked basmati rice
Lime wedges
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or any fresh herbs you like)


In a small food processor or using a mortar and pestle, make a paste of the garlic, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric, salt, cilantro, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water.

Scrub the Persian dried lime and soak for a few minutes in water to soften the skin. Make a small hole by piercing it with a paring knife.

Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the black pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and boil for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and boil for 5 minutes. Add the onion and boil for 5 minutes more.

Stir in the lime juice, garlic-ginger paste, chili paste or red pepper flakes, and dried lime. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes.

Remove the lime to avoid making the soup bitter. Add the fish and gently stir; cover and simmer until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve over cooked basmati rice topped with more fresh herbs and lime wedges on the side.

Photo: Joe Lingeman

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