What’s cooking today: West Coast yellowtail

What’s cooking today: West Coast yellowtail
Braaied yellowtail, West Coast style. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This fish was a big boy; I’d guess about 2 kg but it doesn’t matter how heavy it is. The method works regardless of size.

The most important thing to know about cooking fish on the braai is that if you do not oil the grid well, your fish will be ruined. It will stick to the grid. I learnt this the very first time I did it, and once you’ve made that mistake, you’ll never make it again. And you need a hinged braai grid or you will not be able to turn the fish over.


1 whole yellowtail, butterflied, skin on

Chopped coriander garnish

Vegetable oil for greasing the fish and the grid

For the baste:

2 Tbsp butter, melted

½ cup apricot jam

2 Tbsp chutney

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp white pepper

Salt to taste

For the sauce:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, chopped very finely (or 1 small to medium onion)

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 cup vegetable stock 

3 Tbsp apricot jam

1 Tbsp chutney


Salt and white pepper

For the rice:

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp ground cardamom

Salt to taste (not a heavy hand)

White pepper to taste


Defrost the fish. Rinse well, dry well, and leave aside. If necessary, refrigerate it. Mix the baste ingredients together and set aside.

For the sauce, cook shallots with garlic in olive oil until softened, add vegetable stock and cook for a few minutes. Stir in jam and chutney, season with salt and pepper and simmer until reduced by a third. Leave aside to be reheated later.

Cook rice in your usual way but add the spices, salt and pepper before boiling.

Bring the fish back to room temperature before cooking it.

Sterilise a hinged braai grid in fire. Let it cool.

Pour vegetable oil into a bowl. Brush this over the insides of both sides of the grid, thoroughly. Brush oil over the skin side of the fish too.

Brush the baste all over the top side of the yellowtail: all of it.

Cook over hot coals (not too close) skin-side down for 10 minutes. Turn it immediately and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, 5 maximum. Leave it away from the coals while you check on the reheated sauce and rice and usher your guests in for the repast. This recipe pairs best with this column. DM/TGIFood


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