• (Alan Benson)

Inspired by his love of citrus fruits, chef Hassan M’Souli shares his recipe for pan-fried snapper with a sweet and sour saffron citrus sauce. Ensure you remove all the white pith from the fruit as this can make the sauce bitter. This sauce works equally well with any kind of white fish, so try it with your choice of whatever seafood is in season.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (13 votes)


  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fish stock
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) plain four
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.2 kg skinless perch or snapper fillets
  • 100 ml olive oil

To serve

  • steamed couscous
  • steamed green beans
  • toasted flaked almonds

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.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Soak the saffron in the warm water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a microplane, finely grate the rind of the limes, orange and lemon, then set aside. Peel and segment the fruit over a bowl to catch the juice. Ensure you remove all white pith and membrane as this can make the sauce bitter. Chop the flesh into ½ cm pieces.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4­–5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the zucchini, cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the sweet chilli sauce and sugar. Cook, stirring regularly, for 3­­–4 minutes until caramelised. Add the fish stock and saffron with soaking water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chopped fruit and cook for a further 10–15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Season to taste, turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix the grated citrus rind and flour and season well with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the fish in the flour mixture.

Divide the olive oil between 2 large frying pans and place over high heat. Add the fish and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden and just cooked through (timing will depend on the thickness of the fish).

To serve, divide the couscous between serving plates, top with fish and spoon over the saffron citrus sauce. Serve with steamed green beans drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with toasted almonds.


Photography by Alan Benson