Masgouf / Iraqi Grilled Fish

“Masgouf” has to be one of my favorite words! Besides being a cool word, masgouf happens to be the national dish of Iraq. Assyrians don’t generally cook a lot of seafood dishes. I’m glad masgouf is an exception.

When my family lived in Iraq in the 70’s, I recall that the fish my dad brought home was very tasty. Iraqi carp tasted a lot better than the carp we have in America, at least it used to. The fish did come straight out of the Euphrates River after all, which at one time ran through the Garden of Eden. Perhaps that has something to do with it?

I remember when dad would come home from the market, with a large carp in hand. The fish would be handed over to my mom, who excitedly did her magic. She began by butterflying the beautiful fish. Later she worked on the sauce, while dad prepared the fire pit outside.

When the fish was ready, dad would carefully suspend it over the fire, using two stakes. I can still remember the heavenly aroma! When it was time to eat, we would spread a blanket on the ground, and enjoy the meal outside. Eating masgouf always takes me back to those simpler days gone by; how I miss them!



Print Recipe
Masgouf / Iraqi Grilled Fish
masgoof
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
masgoof
Instructions
  1. Wash fish fillets and pat dry. Rub with one teaspoon salt, and one teaspoon curry. Place on grill-safe pan or tray that's been covered with foil. Cover, to keep the fish from drying out and refrigerate until ready to cook.
    masgouf
Sauce
  1. Chop half of the onion, along with the cloves of garlic, and sauté in vegetable oil until translucent.
    sautéed ondin
  2. Chop one of the tomatoes and add to the same pan, along with the parsley, tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice, water, and cayenne pepper, if using. Stir until all the ingredients come together to form a nice, rich sauce. Simmer for approximately five minutes and set aside to cool.
  3. Slice the remaining onion and tomato. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and smother with the tomato sauce.
    sauce for masgoof
  4. Arrange the sliced tomatoes and onions on top of the sauce. I grilled the fish in a grill basket, so that I can achieve that classic smokey masgoof flavor, but you can also bake it in the oven.
    fish tomatoes and onions
  5. Heat your barbecue grill, and once hot, add the fish. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the fish is cooked.
    masgoof fish
  6. I flipped the tomatoes over halfway through, so they would soak up the flavor of the sauce and cook more. In the future, I plan on purchasing one of those grill baskets that have a handle and can be flipped over to the other side. That type of basket would have helped to cook the tomatoes evenly.
    aasgoof tomatoes and onions
  7. Traditionally masgoof is served with white rice, topped with the tangy tomato sauce.
    masgouf
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2 thoughts on “Masgouf / Iraqi Grilled Fish”

  • THIS has my name ALL over it. I love all things fish (specifically salmon) but this recipe looks amazing and sooooo flavorful. I am actually drooling and officially thinking I need to get into the kitchen and cook myself some LUNCH!

    • Thanks for stopping by, GiGi! Unlike you, I’m not a HUGE fish fan, but definitely love this dish. Unfortunately, I’m always watching carbs, so I don’t cook this as often as I’d like. My mom had all these rules when it came to food. One of them being, you can’t have masgouf without white rice. For that reason, I only make this dish a few times a year, but when I do, I savor every bite. If you do end up making it, I’d love to hear what you thought.

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