Cuisine from the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula is full of exotic influences. Trade between Arabs and Indians resulted in ingredients like turmeric, fenugreek, tamarind and coriander finding their way into the local fare. This kebab is inspired by the melting pot that is modern Emirati cuisine. Fenugreek leaves, available dried and frozen from Indian supermarkets, possess a slightly bitter taste and contain helpful medicinal properties. Use any firm, oily fish you like here; mackerel, swordfish or kingfish would work brilliantly.  






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (5 votes)


  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 125 ml (½ cup) boiling water
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 5 g (⅓ cup) dried fenugreek leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 600 g skinless mackerel fillets, or other oily fish, cut into cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
  • small pita bread, iceberg lettuce leaves and lime cheeks or lemon wedges, to serve



  • 2 x 400 g canned foul (broad beans), drained
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) lime or lemon juice
  • 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • large handful coriander, chopped

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.


Soaking time 20 minutes

Marinating time 3 hours 

Place the tamarind pulp in a small bowl or cup, pour over the boiling water then stand for 20 minutes or until the tamarind is softened. Push the tamarind mixture through a sieve, discarding the solids. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium, add the fenugreek leaves and fry, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Cool, then combine with the strained tamarind, garlic, ground fenugreek, ginger and chilli flakes in a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. 

Combine the tamarind mixture in a bowl with the fish pieces, using your hands to coat the fish.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the foul, place the drained beans in a large bowl and coarsely mash. Add the lime juice, oil and coriander and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Thread the fish onto the skewers. Brush the fish well with olive oil. 

Heat a barbecue or char grill to medium-high. Cook the kebabs, in batches if necessary and turning occasionally, for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with the pita bread, lettuce foul and lime wedges. 


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Peta Gray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.