Bonito stew

Bonito stew

Palamut yahnisi

Eat Istanbul
David Loftus

You can use tuna or swordfish if you can’t find fresh bonito, and bake it in the oven instead of simmering it in a saucepan.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg bonito, cut into large pieces
1 lemon, juiced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint
4 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons concentrated tomato puree
8 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
8 cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice, crushed with a mortar and pestle
150ml red wine
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
a few fresh mint sprigs


  1. To prepare the bonito, place it in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sea salt. Add cold water to cover, cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. To prepare the stew, heat half the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onions, garlic, oregano, mint and bay leaves for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the tomato purée and tomatoes, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, red wine and red wine vinegar, stir and continue to cook over low heat for about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the bonito from the water and drain on kitchen paper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the bonito steaks for a few minutes on each side. Transfer the bonito pieces to the saucepan of sauce, combine well and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 30–40 minutes until the fish is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  4. To serve, transfer the stew to plates and serve immediately with mint sprigs.
Turkish food
Middle Eastern
Andy Harris
David Loftus
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