Chraime Sauce with Fish

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: April 22, 2023

Last Updated: March 14th, 20240 Comments on Chraime Sauce with Fish

A simple way to elevate any type of fish is to cook it in this amazing North African chraime sauce. A tangy, warmly spiced tomato sauce that compliments and soft, flaky fish perfectly. It’s a quick and easy dish to put together too, ready in only 20 minutes.

A fish fillet in a tomato Chraime sauce garnished with herbs and spices. A fork sits next to the fish

I just love this amazing and simple Chraime sauce from North Africa. A super easy tomato sauce that's spiced with warm, earthy flavours that compliment the fruity, tangy tomato perfectly.

I love to serve mine with fish, simply laying a soft, white fish like cod, snapper or hake on the sauce and poaching to flaky perfection. The two are a marriage made in heaven.

But Chraime sauce will also work well as a condiment sauce or a base sauce for a shakshuka style breakfast eggs, plus many more. It's a delicious, versatile and easy sauce to have up your sleeve.

A fish fillet in a tomato Chraime sauce garnished with herbs and spices. A fork sits next to the fish

What is Chraime Sauce? الحريمي

Chraime sauce, also spelled "Craimeh", "Hraimeh", "Hraymah" or "Hraymi," is a spicy and tangy sauce commonly used in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, particularly in Libyan, Israeli and Tunisian cuisine. Its name comes from the Arabic word for 'Hot'.

The sauce is typically made from a base of tomatoes, garlic, and chili peppers, and is often seasoned with a variety of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, paprika, and caraway.

Chraime sauce is commonly served with fish, especially fried or grilled fish, but can also be used as a condiment or dipping sauce for a variety of other dishes. It is known for its bold and flavourful taste, and its spiciness can range from mild to wild!

Why it works?

It's easy. Chraime sauce is super quick and easy to put together and the fish just simmers on top for 10 minutes to cook. No sweat!

It's tangy. I love a spiced tomato sauce with all its rich, tangy flavour. This dish served over couscous is just perfection. All that sauce is soaked up and pretty much perfect.

The ingredients for Chraime sauce with fish

Stuff You'll Need

There's nothing too out of the ordinary that you'll need to find in order to make this Chraime Sauce. Here are the fey flavours.

  • Tomato - is the base of the sauce. I use a passata sauce mostly but often just whizz up a can of tomatoes in the blender too. There's also a little tomato puree/concentrate in there to up the tanginess.
  • Garlic will add a little backbone to the sauce.
  • Spices - we give the sauce a warming spice with ground cumin, ground caraway, paprika and a little chilli powder for heat.
  • Fish - Use a firm white fish that won't break up in the sauce. Cod, Monkfish, Hake, Snapper, Halibut, Bream etc. In this recipe I used one of my favourite fish, hake.
  • Garnishes - Lemon, fresh chilli, mint & parsley, za'atar, sumac and chilli flakes all add their flavour while making the final dish a little more spectacular to look at.

Step by Step

Making Chraime sauce with fish couldn't be easier. Here's how it's done.

  1. Step 1 - Fry the garlic in a little oil until fragrant
  2. Step 2 - Add a little tomato concentrate and stir
  3. Step 3 - Add the ground spices and a little water to avoid them sticking
  4. Step 4 - Add the tomato passata and a little water to thin out the sauce
  5. Step 5 - Place the fish into the sauce and pop on a lid to the pan. Let them poach for 10 minutes or so until fully cooked.
  6. Step 6 - Spoon a little sauce into a shallow bowl and then top with the fish. Garnish and serve hot!
Adding garlic to oil in a pan
Adding tomato to a pan of frying garlic
Adding spices to the fried onion and tomato puree
Simmering the Chraime tomato sauce
Poaching fish in a Chraime tomato sauce
Garnishing Fish in Chraime Sauce with herbs and spices

Not just for seafood

  • This sauce will also work as a condiment, like a hot sauce, so you don't need to serve it with fish. You can pour it over cooked meats, chicken and vegetables.
  • It's also a great way to make shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce). Just make the sauce as usual and then instead of adding fish, break a few eggs into the pan and cover. Cook until they're set, but the yolk still runny.

Serving & Storage Suggestions

Serve hot or at room temperature. I like to make a bowl of fluffy couscous. It soaks up all that lovely chraime sauce to perfection. You can also serve with vegetables or salad or just a healthy serving of crusty bread.


  • Fridge: Leftover Chraime Sauce with fish will stay good for 1-2 days in an airtight container.
  • Freezer: Leftover Chraime Sauce with fish will be good for 1-2 months in an airtight container. I recommend defrosting (not in a microwave) before reheating to ensure the fish stays as intact as it can.

Storing Chraime Sauce (before adding fish)

The sauce itself (before adding the fish) will be good in the fridge for 1 week and 3+ months in the freezer.

A fish fillet in a tomato Chraime sauce garnished with herbs and spices. A fork sits next to the fish

Ready to get cooking?

Now that you've learned just how easy and versatile Chraime Sauce can be, it should be a no-brainer in making its way to your weekday or weekend menu. It's the perfect simple sauce that will work alongside or poured over so many other dishes.

Cooking it with fish is just one of the delicious ways to enjoy Chraime Sauce, so let your imagination run wild. I hope you enjoy!

A fish fillet is cut in half in a shallow bowl of tomato Chraime sauce

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about Chraime Sauce? Let me know in the comments.

Where does Chraime sauce originate from?

Chraime sauce is a traditional condiment in Israeli cuisine, originating from Libya and brought to Israel by Libyan Jews who immigrated in the mid-20th century.

Is Chraime Sauce spicy?

Yes, Chraime sauce is typically spicy. It is made with a blend of chili peppers and spices, giving it a piquant and flavorful taste. However, the level of spiciness may vary depending on the recipe and personal preference.

How do you use Chraime sauce in cooking?

Chraime sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. It is often used as a dipping sauce for bread or vegetables, or as a topping for grilled fish or meat. It can also be added to stews, soups, and rice dishes to add flavor and spice. Additionally, some people use Chraime sauce as a marinade for chicken or fish before grilling or baking.

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A fish fillet in a tomato Chraime sauce garnished with herbs and spices. A fork sits next to the fish

Chraime Sauce with Fish

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern, North African
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 2
Calories (per serving) | 231

Video Recipe


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (concentrate)
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground caraway
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup tomato passata (blended tomatoes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 fish fillets (flaky, firm white fish)
  • ½ lemon (juice of)

Garnishes (optional)

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp za'atar
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • 1 green chilli (finely sliced)


  • Heat the oil in a pan over a moderate heat until just hot. Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute until fragrant. Be careful not to burn it as it'll turn bitter.
  • Add the tomato puree and stir briefly before adding the paprika, cumin caraway, chilli powder and salt. Stir to combine then add a splash of water to ensure they don't burn.
  • Add the tomato and water and stir to form a creamy sauce. Let this come to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  • Place the fish into the sauce and put on a lid. Let it poach for 10-12 minutes until it's cooked through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the lemon juice. Shake the pan a little to combine.
  • To serve, make a small pool of sauce in a shallow bowl and place a fish fillet on top. Garnish with a little scattering of everything and serve hot. Alternatively, you can leave to come to room temperature (covered in the pan) and serve cold.


Calories: 231kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 23g (8%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 16g (25%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1324mg (58%) | Potassium: 856mg (24%) | Fiber: 8g (33%) | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 3085IU (62%) | Vitamin C: 37mg (45%) | Calcium: 115mg (12%) | Iron: 6mg (33%)
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