Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Pan-fried fish in spicy tomato sauce

Prep time 30 mins to 1 hour
Cook time 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 2-4
From Saturday Kitchen


  1. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off any excess.

  2. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and chop the flesh into small chunks. Measure the amount of juice, keep half and set aside. Discard the rest.

  3. Heat a wok over high heat until it is hot. Add the olive oil, and when it is moderately hot, add the fish fillets and pan-fry them for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Then turn them over and brown the other side (this will also take about 3-5 minutes). When cooked, remove and drain on kitchen paper. Turn onto a warm platter.

  4. Pour off all but one tablespoon of oil from the wok, add the garlic and shallots, and stir-fry for one minute.

  5. Add the tomatoes, the reserved tomato juice, rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, chilli bean sauce and sugar, and simmer for five minutes.

  6. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with the basil and serve at once.


  • 450g/1lb boneless, firm white fish fillets, such as cod, sea bass or halibut,
  • skinned and divided into 4 equal pieces
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 450g/1lb tinned whole tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • handful fresh basil leaves for garnish

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