masgouf | Iraqi grilled fish

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For the fish and marinade:

  • 10 ounces white, lean fish fillets, –or- a 16-ounce whole fish, cleaned and butterflied
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup large-diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onions (fill a quarter cup halfway)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided into 1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Pat the fish dry with paper towels, and place it in a large ziplock bag.
  2. For the marinade: Add the lemon juice, curry powder, olive oil, and salt to the ziplock bag, seal the bag and mix everything around by squeezing the bag a few times. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours ahead if you want to make it ahead).
  3. When you’re ready to cook the fish, preheat the grill. If you’re broiling, set the oven to broil 5 minutes before you’re ready to cook (all broilers work a little differently, so pre-heating times will vary).
  4. For the topping: Combine the diced tomatoes, sliced red onions, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon curry powder, olive oil, and salt.
  5. Take the fish from the marinade, do not pat it dry, place it on a grill-safe tray (with a rim if you’re using the broiler), and cover with the extra 1/2 teaspoon curry powder.
  6. Top the fish with the tomato mixture and grill or broil until the fish is flaky. Cooking times vary, depending on how big your fish is and how hot your grill is, but you can count on at least 6 minutes.