At the restaurant, Shane serves this dish with pumpkin and cumin purée. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Store leftover halva mayonnaise in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Skill level

Average: 2.9 (11 votes)


  • 400 g barramundi fillet, skin on, trimmed, cut into 4 even pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g butter, chopped, at room temperature
  • 2 lemon thyme sprigs
  • baby herbs or chopped coriander, to serve

Halva mayonnaise

  • 50 g plain halva (see Note), crumbled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil

Crunchy chickpeas and prawns

  • 100 g (½ cup) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 12 fresh green prawns, peeled, cleaned, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, julienned
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (see Note)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted, lightly crushed
  • ½ lemon, zested

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make mayonnaise, process halva, egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and ½ tsp salt in a food processor until combined. With the motor running, gradually add the combined oils in a thin, steady stream, then add up to 60ml water, 1 tbsp at a time, until combined and mixture is the consistency of thickened cream. Add a little more water if too thick. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate.

To make crunchy chickpeas, drain chickpeas and rinse under water. Drain well and process in a food processor until roughly chopped. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas and cook for 4 minutes or until light golden. Add prawn meat and cook for a further 2 minutes, breaking up meat with the back of a spoon. Stir in ginger, garlic, lime leaf, Aleppo pepper and crushed fennel seeds, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Set aside and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Rub barramundi skin with salt and drizzle both sides of fish with olive oil. Heat a large, ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add fish, skin-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until skin is crisp.

Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 8 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Remove pan from oven, add butter and thyme, and stir to melt butter. Spoon butter over barramundi fillets, turning fish once, until butter has browned.

Serve barramundi with crunchy chickpeas and prawns, and halva mayonnaise, with baby herbs or coriander scattered over.


Halva is a sweet of Turkish origin made from ground sesame seeds and honey, which is then often flavoured. Typical flavourings might include chocolate, vanilla or pistachio, but this recipe calls for the plain variety. Halva is from delis and selected supermarkets.

Aleppo pepper, from Middle Eastern food shops and specialist spice shops, is a medium-heat chilli used in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine. Substitute coarsely ground chilli from Korean and Asian food shops.

Drink 2006 Marsovin 1919 Chardonnay/Girgentina, Gozo, Malta

As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 9, pg98.

Photography by Derek Swalwell.