Spiced Seafood & Fennel Stew

My loose interpretation of a Tunisian fish soup, Chreime. It’s usually made with the day’s catch, and whatever vegetables one has on hand. I’ve used fish and prawns in this one, but I think it would be great with mussels too!

For fish, my go-to is always Kuhlbarra’s barramundi – the flesh is tender, silky, and flavourful. I even keep the skin on!


I love using harissa paste in my cooking – it adds spice and a lovely deep colour! In Singapore, I get mine at Elite Kosher, a supermarket found on the 2nd floor of the Jacob Ballas Centre at Waterloo Street. It’s about the size of a convenience store, but it carries an eclectic mix of products (biscuits, sauces, wines, sweets, meat, etc). I get my tahini there too.

This dish goes well with a side of tabouleh salad and couscous!

The Recipe serves 3


2 tbsp olive oil

½ yellow onion, sliced

100g fennel (or celery)

½ red capsicum, sliced

3 garlic, minced

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tbsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp harissa paste*

150g small-medium sized potatoes, skin on, quartered

1 bunch coriander, separate stems and leaves

350ml fish or prawn stock

1 can chopped tomatoes

8 olives, pitted

400g white fish (e.g. barramundi)

5 tiger prawns




Handful of flat leaf parsley

Remaining leaves from coriander used earlier

Lemon juice

Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a large casserole on medium heat, soften the onion, fennel and capsicum in olive oil until softened.
  2. Add in the garlic, cumin seeds, and sweet paprika, and sautée for 2 min.
  3. Stir in the harissa paste and mix well.
  4. Add in the potatoes, coriander stems, and stock, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Cover and simmer for about 15 min until potatoes are cooked.
  6. Add in the canned tomatoes and olives, and leave to simmer for 4-5 min uncovered.
  7. Add in the seafood, make sure there is enough liquid to cover it. If not, add water as required. Bring it to a boil, covered for 3-4 min until the fish is cooked and the prawns turn pink.
  8. At this stage, the stew would be quite watery, so remove the seafood and set them aside. Heat the remaining liquid over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced slightly, and resembles a thick stew.
  9. Season with salt and pepper as needed, and return the seafood to the pot.
  10. Squeeze some lemon juice over, and garnish with coriander, parsley, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.


  • You can use tomato paste and chilli flakes as an alternative to harissa paste.
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