The Caribbean's tropical climate is ideal for growing tamarind, or tambran as it is colloquially called in Trinidad. Often thought of as a native Indian fruit, tamarind is actually indigenous to Africa but was likely brought to India via trade routes millennia ago. Once transplanted to the subcontinent, tamarind quickly became a staple of Indian cooking and is used in sauces, drinks, desserts and stews. It came to South America and the Caribbean with European colonizers in the 16th century, so was already on the scene when indentured East Indians arrived in the West Indies.

EatingWell Magazine, March 2022


Credit: Penny De Los Santos

Recipe Summary

25 mins
25 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet lightly in flour, shaking off any excess.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook undisturbed until golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and shallot to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in broth, tamarind and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sugar is just dissolved, about 1 minute. Add chile, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and lemon zest. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Transfer the fish to a serving platter. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves; pour the sauce over the fish. Top with culantro (or cilantro).


Scotch bonnet chiles are a common ingredient in Trinidadian cuisine. They are some of the hotter peppers on the Scoville scale. Keep white vinegar handy to wipe down surfaces that the pepper has touched—including your hands—before washing with soap and water.Much stronger than cilantro (a cousin), culantro is a long-leafed herb that's widely used in Latin American, Southeast Asian and Caribbean cooking. Buy it fresh at international markets or dried online.

Nutrition Facts

4 oz. fish & 2 Tbsp. sauce
284 calories; protein 30g; carbohydrates 13g; dietary fiber 1g; sugars 4g; added sugar 2g; fat 13g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 71mg; sodium 332mg; potassium 492mg.