Cinnamon-Spiced Fish Tagine with Raisins and Capers

mahi, australis barramundi, morrocan fish, tagine, sweet and salty,

I do blogging kind of like I do laundry.

Are you ready for this? You sure?

The fact is I’m not very good at doing laundry. You see, we have the “general” pile – socks, pj’s, gym clothes, pretty much anything I don’t really care about separating. That gets thrown in the hamper and my darling husband takes care of it. Unlike me, he’s pretty good at laundry.

And then there’s “my” laundry. Sweaters and jeans that get piled up on my bedroom floor, until I start tripping over it. Inevitably at some point I’ll *almost* twist my ankle, so then I’ll suck it up and move the pile to a basket in the laundry room.

Which just so happens to be 5 steps from our bedroom. Yup, we’re those kind of lucky ducks who have the laundry room upstairs. You’d think this would make things easier for me.

Fast forward a few weeks when I’ve had *nothing* to wear for the past two weeks, and I’ll finally throw in a load.

And forget, for no less than 32 hours, to move the “clean” clothes to the drying rack.

I told you it was bad.

Then the clothes get re-washed (because I have this not-so-sneaking suspicion that damp clothes get dirty again after sitting for over a day in the washer) and finally hung. But first I need to empty the drying rack from the previous load, that’s been sitting there a good 6 weeks. Naturally, these don’t get put on hangers, but rather, on the guest bed. And ultimately, when he really can’t stand it, that darling husband of mine steps in and puts my clothes away for me.

He’s a keeper.

So where was I going with this? Well, I’m currently trying to work my way through a pile of draft blog posts, pulling together the pictures and words to go with each title and recipe. And it’s taking me just about as long as it does for a sweater to get back into my closet after being pulled on my body. Longer, actually.

And here’s another thing they have in common. Just like uncovering the buried fashion treasures in my laundry pile (“OMG! I totally forgot I had this!”), sifting through the draft stash can elicit the same excitement. And that’s pretty much how I felt about re-discovering this Moroccan-inspired fish dish.

Not only did I quickly recall how delicious it was – tender, meaty barramundi accented with warm cinnamon, tangy capers and sweet raisins – but the photos, they made me feel good about myself again! You see, I’ve been a little “off my game” in the photography department lately and for whatever reason I’m just not cranking out the kind of stuff I’m excited to share with you lately. Which is really a problem considering I’m teaching a photography seminar at a blogging conference in just under two months. But at least this serves a reminder that I once knew what I was doing – and can do it again (I hope.)

A few notes about this recipe: You can use any type of white fish, but I’d urge you to try something other than tilapia. Sure, tilapia is well-liked due to its low cost, wide availability, and mild taste that plays to its versatility and makes it a highly recommended first foray into seafood for non-fish eaters. But why do you think it’s so cheap, so available, and so, well, lacking in flavor? Due to farming practices, of course. Tilapia are easy to mass-produce because they eat pretty much anything, which means farmers can get away with feeding them a lesser quality diet that is certainly not like what they’d eat in the wild. Unfortunately this results in a fish containing minimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and elevated levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which is not a very healthy combination if you’re trying to eat more fish to improve heart-health.

Instead, I’ll offer up my two favorite choices for white fish; both have great flavor and are environmentally-friendly, sustainable choices. Instead of tilapia, try wild-caught mahimahi. Wild-caught fish are preferable to farm-raised fish because this means that the fish was raised on its natural diet, but not all wild fish are caught through sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Mahimahi, when produced in the US, is an envrionmentally-sound choice. It’s not a top choice for omega-3 content, but is is low in calories and overall fat, which makes it a nice piece of a healthy diet.

Another great choice is barramundi, also known as the “better fish.” A company called Australis produces and distributes most of the barramundi in the US using sustainable, clean practices. Barramundi is a unique choice of white fish in that it contains omega-3 levels comparable to wild Coho salmon, but with lower calories and fat, like other lean white fish. Some say it’s the next “superfood” and I have to agree!

We served this fish tagine with steamed cauli-rice sprinkled with cinnamon, which we really enjoy as a grain-alternative.

barramundi, mahi, sweet and sour fish

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Cinnamon-Spiced Fish Tagine with Raisins and Capers

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon raisins
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 6oz pieces firm white fish, such as mahi mahi or barramundi
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest


In a heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium heat, cook ginger, paprika, and cumin for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in oil, tomatoes, capers, raisins and cinnamon. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Pat the fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Nestle the fish into the tomato sauce, cover, and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 7-10 minutes depending on thickness.

Stir in lemon zest, and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 267.7
Total Fat 8.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 121.6 mg
Sodium 455.6 mg
Potassium 93.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Sugars 10.3 g
Protein 33.5 g

This post has been syndicated on BlogHer.

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14 Responses to “Cinnamon-Spiced Fish Tagine with Raisins and Capers”

  1. 1

    janet @ the taste space — February 24, 2012 @ 8:03 am Reply

    That is too funny about the laundry, Cara. R is great about cleaning the towels, sheets, his clothes, etc, every single week. Me? I have a pile of my own dirty clothes that make it down there every 2-3 weeks… when I run out of clothes. Ha! 😉

  2. 2

    Ricki — February 24, 2012 @ 9:24 am Reply

    Cara, you are so funny!! Your description of dealing with laundry sound exactly like our house. (My hubby does “general” laundry, too). And I also have scads of blog drafts, just waiting to be realized. . . . and now I think I’d better go take another peek!! 😉

  3. 3

    Molly — February 24, 2012 @ 10:19 am Reply

    I so need to get better at prepping blog posts weeks in advance. Let me put it to you this way: I’m always scrambling for that pair of socks so I don’t end up barefoot on my blog.

    Long before all the wonderful news about Omega-3s came out a few years ago, I was a huge fish fan. And now, with all the constant positive discoveries, I like it even more. And this recipe is just singing to me — capers, raisins, cumin — all on my top hits list. Thanks for another terrific recipe, Cara.

  4. 4

    Michelle @ Esculent Dreams — February 24, 2012 @ 1:48 pm Reply

    oh interesting alternatives to tilapia! i’ve never had barramundi but i’ll look for it on my next shopping trip! do you know how much it costs, typically?

    • 4.1

      Cara — February 24, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      I buy it at BJ’s (it’s a bag of frozen, individually wrapped portions) and I believe it’s around $7 or $8/lb. I could be wrong though. And I don’t know what other stores charge. Sorry!

  5. 5

    Megan — February 24, 2012 @ 8:41 pm Reply

    I think we have the same laundry strategy.

    This fish dish sounds lovely — warm and spicy.

  6. 6

    vianney — February 24, 2012 @ 9:42 pm Reply

    Oh how funny..we must be related. I fell over my laundry today and almost broke my arm, so I knew it was time to wash. My laundry gets hung on my comp chair. I also have at least 10 pending blog posts, just sitting there. Glad you found this.. it looks delish!! perfect for lent!

  7. 7

    Joanne — February 24, 2012 @ 11:20 pm Reply

    I love that our methods of doing laundry are EXACTLY the same. It’s kind of eerie. Except I don’t have a husband to put anything away for me…sad.

    I definitely have bad weeks with my camera…and then it’ll random start working again. There’s no rhyme or reason. Some weeks the pictures come out AWFUL and then the next week they come out great with the same exact settings and set-up and everything. It’s like my camera’s PMS-ing or something.

    The flavors in this dish are amazing Cara! All of my favorite warm spices rolled up into one!

  8. 8

    Kate — February 25, 2012 @ 6:13 am Reply

    I’ve kind of got my laundry system downpat when it comes to washing and drying. It’s the folding and putting away where I tend to fail.

  9. 9

    Shannon — February 25, 2012 @ 4:20 pm Reply

    ~sigh~ i have a bunch of pictures and a bunch of recipes written… they just need to all get together and get it done 😉 kinda like laundry, no? ha. love the flavors here, something i wouldn’t have paired with fish, but i bet it totally works!

  10. 10

    Deborah — February 26, 2012 @ 12:53 am Reply

    I love it when I find a hidden recipe that I’ve forgotten about and haven’t posted yet. But my problem is that I usually can’t remember the recipe or the changes I made to it by the time I find it!! This sounds fantastic – I’m just starting to get into Moroccan inspired foods – and I’m loving them!

  11. 11

    Cara Craves... — February 26, 2012 @ 2:59 pm Reply

    I think I will make this tonight!

  12. 12

    grace — February 27, 2012 @ 4:12 pm Reply

    barramundi sounds so deadly and dangerous–what a super fish name. now, i don’t like fish in any way, shape, or form, but by adding cinnamon, you’re at least creating a small chance that i’ll like it. 🙂

  13. 13

    Emily @ A Cambridge Story — February 27, 2012 @ 9:51 pm Reply

    Moroccan style spices and flavors like this really take a meal to the next level. This sounds great!

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