Recipe: tamarind sea bream with jewelled couscous

Vine Leaves sea bream with jewelled couscous

Vine Leaves sea bream with jewelled couscous - Credit: vine leaves

The Vine Leaves in Harpenden shares its recipe for tamarind sea bream with jewelled couscous - a perfect summer dinner

Couscous (for four)

2 tbsp olive oil

400g couscous

100g chopped dried apricot

Brunoise of 1 courgette, 1 yellow and 1 red pepper, 1 carrot, 1 red onion

Handful of parsley and coriander finely chopped

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700ml vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to season

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp za’atar

1 tsp ras el hanout

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Handful pomegranate seeds

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts or flaked almonds


Place couscous in a bowl, add the olive oil and rub in by hand. Pour over the stock. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool. Add the seasoning and fluff up the couscous. Gently stir through the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and garnish with pomegranate seeds and nuts.

Tamarind sauce

225g tamarind, seeded

2 ½ cups demerara sugar

4 cups boiling water

½ tbsp roasted ground cumin seeds

1 tbsp Himalayan salt

1 tsp black salt

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp ground cardamom

½ tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp clove powder


Break the tamarind into small pieces and soak in boiling water for an hour. Mash into a pulp and strain, pressing the tamarind into the strainer to remove all the pulp. Put the pulp in a saucepan and heat gently. Add sugar and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients. Boil until the mix has a syrup consistency.

Sea bream

4 sea bream fillets

Knob of butter

Salt and pepper


Melt the butter in a frying pan. Score the fish and cook skin side down. Season to taste.

To serve

Plate the couscous and add the fillet. Top with the tamarind sauce.

Recipe by The Vine Leaves restaurant, Harpenden