For the sauce:
This fish is very special in flavor and texture as its prepared in a unique way compare to other Moroccan cooked fish. This is one of my mom’s signature dishes that is served very often in our Shabbat table. The tomatoes bring richness and moisture to the fish and the sauce is divine.
1). Divide each steak into 3 pieces as equal as possible. Then cut each piece in the middle so the fish is not too thick. About ½ an inch thickness. Place in a deep wide tray or bowl and pour the boiling water on top. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze very well. Don’t throw the squeezed lemon to the garbage! Put it in the bowl as well. Let sit for about 20 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
2). Place the 4 Tbsp oil in a wide pot, let warm up for a minute and then add the red bell pepper strips along with the jalapeno. Sautee for few minutes until golden. ( If the oil splashes lower the flame a slightly and cover the pot)
3). Then add the diced tomatoes and mix until they almost melt into the oil. About 2-3 minutes. Then turn off the flame.
4). Add the garlic cloves and the drained chickpeas and sprinkle a little cilantro on top.
5) Wash each piece of tuna under the water and arrange in the pot one next to the other. Insert the sliced lemon in-between.
6). In a small bowl or cup place the ¾ cup oil, add the paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix very well. With a big tablespoon coat each piece of fish with the seasoned oil and sprinkle the rest of the cilantro on the fish.
7). Add 1 ¾ cup water to the same bowl you had the oil. Mix the water in there and pour into the pot but make sure it doesn’t go on the fish. Try to pour it in-between the pieces.
8) Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then lower the flame to the lowest possible and cook for about 40 minutes. Then open the cover and increase the heat until the liquids have evaporated and the sauce is nice and rich.
Note: Tuna is the only fish my mom soak in hot water for 20 minutes since it can get a little fishy sometimes. The water with the lemon “cleans” it from any “dirt” that might come up during the cooking process.
Some people might claim that this process actually cooks and dries the fish; however, the sauce and the long cooking process actually makes it so moist and special.