Grilled Hamra with Hashwa

Today’s “Fish of the Day” is Hamra.  In English this fish is also known as Red Snapper.

I will show you in today’s recipe how to prepare Hamra with an easy to make hashwa (stuffing).  Hashwa literally means “stuffing”.  This stuffing recipe is very easy to make and brings a wonderful aroma and flavour to fish.

Grilled Hamra with Hashwa or Grilled Red Snapper with Cilentro and Onion Stuffing


Hamra (Red Snapper) 1 kg or larger (the fish only needs to be gutted.  Do not scale or trim the fins!)

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized green bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 bunch of cilentro (kuzbara) chopped

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cumin powder (or Arabian Spice mix)

Since you will be grilling the Hamra the only thing you will need to do to the fish is have it gutted.  Gut the fish from the belly so that you will have a pocket to stuff the hashwa in.

Do not scale it or trim the fins. The reason for this is that you will be placing the whole fish directly onto the grill and having the scales still on the fish will prevent it from sticking to the grill.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the ingredients (from chopped onion to cumin powder).  Note:  that this hashwa can easily be doubled or tripled according to how many fish you will be grilling.

cilentro, onion, garlic, green bell pepper

salt, black pepper, tumeric, ground ginger, cumin powder

Prepared hashwa

Now all you have to do is stuff each hamra with the hashwa as seen in the picture below.

stuffed Hamra waiting to be sewn up

Now you will need a large-eye needle and some cooking twine (I didn’t have any twine so I just used cotton yarn) for sewing up the belly of the fish.

All the Hamra sewn up

A close-up of my needlework!

Sewn up Hamra up close.

Now all you have to do is prepare your grill.  Grilling time will be approximately 1 hour.  Every 30 minutes turn the fish over so it will not char.  Do not turn the fish over before 30 minutes because it will break up over the grill and you don’t want that!

Hamra on the grill with some shrimp.

When the Hamra is finished serve on a platter.  When you get ready to eat it just peel away the skin.  Serve with the hashwa with a squeeze of lemon if you wish.

When I prepare grilled fish with hashwa I serve it with white rice, daqoos is optional, lemon wedges, and fresh greens.

If you so happen to plan a picnic on the beach in the evening all you need is a roaring fire, some lemons and bread from an Iranian bakery (khobuz Irani).


Red Snapper on FoodistaRed Snapper

16 responses to “Grilled Hamra with Hashwa

  1. Delicious! I should definitely do more grilling.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this Red Snapper
    at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about red snapper recipes,Thanks!

  2. Thank you Alisa for stopping by and commenting…and recommending that I add the widget. 🙂

  3. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on “Add your site”

    Best regards,


  4. HI,
    This fish looks AMAZING. I think we should get together and have a picnic. I know very little about Emirati food but would LOVE to learn.
    Great blog.

  5. Sorry to bother you again, can i put a link to your blog on mine? It is really, really good!!! I’ve been reading for like an hour…

  6. Aw, you are too kind 🙂 A picnic sounds good…especially now since the weather is so beautiful. I would love to teach you if you are interested. Take care and thank you for your lovely comments 🙂

  7. Yes, of course you can! I wouldn’t mind at all 🙂 Thank you for your compliment!

  8. Hi MaryAnn – Just discovered your site, and can’t believe I hadn’t come across it after close to nine months of blogging in Dubai! Better late than never 🙂 Reaching out because I was wondering if you’d be interested in joining a local informal foodie group where we we meet up once a month to cook, eat, photograph or do anything food-related together. The bloggers on mycustardpie, eat write think, anja’s food 4 thought and many more are already active members of the group – and frankly, it’s been a real blast getting to meet people in person and indulging in foodie pursuits together!

    If you’re interested in getting updates and being a part of the group, just let me know – I’ll send you the facebook link for Famished in Arabia.

    Look forward to visiting your site more often!

  9. I am sure that these fish with this beautiful stuffing would taste great. I can almost smell the aromas of this dish.

  10. 🙂 Thank you

  11. Hi, your group sounds lovely and it would be nice to get together with other Dubai food bloggers. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  12. Thank you very much for all those wonderful comments in my blog, dont worry Ill try to make some cassava cake dedicated to you :).

    Your blog site looks interesting as well, though you have said that you dont eat a lot of Filipino dishes it seems that your seafood recipes here have some Filipino touch to it like how you prepared this snapper. Looking forward to you future posts and definitely subscribe to this!

  13. Machallah just discovered your blog but am already falling in love. My husband has gone to Dubai several times, always coming back with spice mixes and food stories– enchallah looking forward to try out your recipes!

  14. Awwww, I look forward to the casava cake recipe when you get around to it 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting me!

  15. Awww, thank you for your sweet comment 🙂 and for stopping by to visit me!

  16. Oh this looks amazing I have to try it.

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