Mackerel recheado

Mackerel recheado

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

Recheado is a spicy, tangy paste used to stuff and baste fish before shallow frying. You can grill or barbecue the marinated fish if you prefer. Intense in flavour, you want the blend to be thick enough to cling to the fish as you marinate it – the consistency of toothpaste. Tamarind pulp is a brilliant ingredient to have on your shelf. Break off as much as you need and loosen it in a little hot water, pushing the softened pulp through a sieve with the back of a spoon to extract any seeds. Use ready-made tamarind paste, bought in a jar, if you can’t find the pulp. Serve the recheado with plain rice and chopped salad – tomatoes, red onion/shallot and cucumber is good. You can use any small to medium whole fish or firm fillets of fish.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch ground cloves, (optional)
A pinch ground cardamom, (optional)
2 teaspoons chilli flakes, more if you like it hotter (or you can use fresh chilli)
2.5cm fresh ginger, grated or finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
3 tablespoons tamarind pulp or paste
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 mackerel, gutted, well rinsed, dried and slashed to the bone 3 times on each side
neutral oil, for shallow frying
lime wedges, to serve


  1. Soak the spices, ginger, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt and the tamarind pulp in the vinegar and sugar for 30 minutes. Then blend until smooth, adding a splash of water if required but ensuring that the paste is thick enough to stick to the fish.
  2. Season the fish with a pinch of salt and stuff the paste right into the slashes, then coat the entire fish with the paste. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. You can cook the fish a few ways . . . To fry, heat a 1cm depth of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the whole fish and shallow-fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through – about 2–3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Alternatively, to grill, heat a grill or barbecue to high and grill the fish for about 3–4 minutes on each side, until cooked through and charred on both sides.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve with lime wedges, with rice and a chopped salad on the side.
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