– recipe –



berbere fish with avocado & melon salad


Ethiopian berbere (or berbiri) means ‘hot sauce’, named after the Berbers, nomads of North Africa. Berbere paste is perfect to perk up fresh, whole fish cooked over the coals. Plate-sized Fish ─ 500 to 750 grams ─ are best, as the heat penetrates quickly to the bone.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes 

Marinating time: A few hours

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Works well with: Bream, Silver, Red Roman, any plate-sized Fish With A Story

Braai, Get togethers, Special occasion


4 whole Fish With A Story, 500–750 g each 

salt and milled black pepper 

mint sprigs

fennel fronds 

olive oil

60 ml Berbere paste (see below) 

Avocado & melon salad (see below)


Berbere paste 

10 ml cumin seeds 

6 whole cloves 

5 ml cardamom pods, lightly crushed 

5 ml whole coriander seeds 

1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped 

4 garlic cloves, peeled 

20 g green ginger, peeled and chopped 

30 ml paprika 

2 ml turmeric 

2 ml ground cinnamon 

2 ml milled black pepper 

2–3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Place the cumin, cloves, cardamom and coriander in a dry fring pan and roast, tossing lightly until aromatic.

  2. Grind with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.

  3. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and continue grinding to a fine paste.

  4. Mix in the paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper.

  5. Bottle and store in the fridge.


Avocado and Melon Salad 

1 avocado 

½ small sweet melon (spanspek) 

60 ml chopped coriander 

30 ml roughly chopped mint leaves 

45 ml olive oil 

juice of 2 limes 

salt and milled black pepper

  1. Peel and stone the avocado and cut into small cubes. Toss into a bowl.

  2. Skin and pip the melon and cut into small cubes. Add to the avocado with the coriander and mint.

  3. Pour over the olive oil and flavour with lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss everything together. 



  1. Make a few deep slashes in the sides of the fish and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Tuck mint sprigs and fennel fronds into the body cavities.

  3. Smear berbere paste all over and rub in with your hands.

  4. Place in a dish and drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Set aside for a couple of hours in a cool spot (or in the fridge), then start the braai. 

  6. Braai the fish over medium-hot coals for about 25 minutes until cooked through, turning frequently.

  7. Serve one per person with avocado and melon salad on the side.  


Recipe credit:
Tamsin Snyman Publishers


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