Family lunch is a decades-old tradition at Delfina Foundation, serving as an occasion to bring our residents together with the wider art community based in London and beyond. These regular convivial gatherings offer a delicious, home-cooked meal and an intimate space to connect and share the practice and of our resident artists, curators and collectors.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to join together in-person, and so we produced a series of ‘home deliveries‘ of our family lunch, offering a virtual taste of these occasions to our community, complete with a recipe and a short video presentation from a former resident.
We are delighted to now be able to reconvene these meals in our dinning room at Delfina Foundation. However, following our expansion of the family lunch experience to our global family during the pandemic, we will continue to share occasional recipes and insights from these meals.
On 17 May 2022 current artist-in-residence Ghazaleh Avarzamani cooked a special Family Lunch for the household and invited guests. Here we share the recipe for the main course she served.
Learn more about Ghazaleh’s practice here.
Hashoo Mahi حشو ماهی is a dish from the south of Iran.
In this traditional Persian preparation for fish, a profusion of garlic and onion is slowly simmered with tangy tamarind and pomegranate paste until the whole thing cooks down into a silky, sweet and sour sauce with a haunting flavour.
I learnt about this dish when I was studying in London in 2011. My friend’s mum cooked it for us, and I have been hooked since.
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil – plus more as needed
1 kg onion – finely diced
5 large garlic cloves – chopped
½ cup chopped coriander leaves and tender stems
2 cups tamarind paste (different brands of tamarind paste have different levels of sweetness and acidity, so you’ll need to adjust the flavours as you go; taste often and feel free to add a bit more tamarind or sugar to balance things out!)
3 tbsp of pomegranate paste
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
6 thick fillets of cod (6-8 oz each) or other meaty white fish such as swordfish
Pomegranate seeds, walnuts and ½ cup chopped parsley leaves for decoration
Serve with cooked basmati rice or herb rice.
Marinate the fish in lemon juice and salt and pepper and leave to rest for a few hours.
In a 12-inch skillet (choose one with a lid), heat three tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Stir in all the chopped onions and fry until golden. Add the garlic and stir for a further 3 minutes.
Next add in the turmeric and drizzle with a little more oil (this prevents the turmeric from burning) and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add red-pepper flakes and stir well. Then add the coriander and stir until the paste turns a dark green.
Mix the tamarind paste with hot water and add it to the mixture. Add the pomegranate paste; add more pomegranate paste if you like sweeter than sour. Then add then salt and taste occasionally, and adjust seasoning using more salt, tamarind or a combination. Let the mix boil and simmer until the mixture turns to a paste-like texture. Turn off the stove.
Place the fish into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the oven and cover each fish with the paste you have made. Place back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
When the fish is ready, decorate it before serving with pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and chopped parsley leaves.