Tunisian-Style Catfish Nuggets

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This is a great way to dress up an inexpensive fish and is reminiscent of a Tunisian-style fish preparation. Fried catfish is simmered in a tomato-based sauce with anise seed, chopped fresh lemon, and olives, and served over rice or couscous. You may substitute any other fish if desired. This simple preparation makes it the 'cat's meow'!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
3 servings


  • vegetable oil for frying

  • 1 pound catfish, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 onion, halved and sliced

  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips

  • ½ teaspoon anise seed

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 lemon wedge

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 cup water

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • ½ cup olives

  • 1 cup water


  1. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  2. Beat the egg into a shallow bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip the fish pieces into the beaten egg and then into the crumbs until well coated. Fry the catfish nuggets in batches, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion and bell pepper strips; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.

  4. Coarsely crush the anise seed. Add the anise seed, tomato paste, and chopped tomatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste has darkened and the tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes.

  5. Chop the lemon wedge, peel and all, into five pieces. Stir the lemon wedge and crushed garlic into the tomato mixture and cook for 1 minute more. Mix in 1 cup water, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and olives. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in more water if the sauce gets too thick. Gently stir in the catfish nuggets, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Cook's Note

Instead of bread crumbs, coat the fish with your favorite breading mixture before frying, if desired.

Editor's Note

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the breading ingredients. The actual amount of the breading consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

1162 Calories
77g Fat
84g Carbs
36g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 3
Calories 1162
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 77g 99%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 157mg 52%
Sodium 1148mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 84g 30%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 35mg 175%
Calcium 269mg 21%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 1003mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.