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Crap Fish (Masgouf /Iraqi Style of Cooking Grilled Fish)

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Grilled fish is one of the traditional Iraqi dishes and the most favorite, right next to the Baima dish (okra, check the recipe on the website). Masgouf is not a name of a dish, or a recipe, or the name of the fish. Masqouf is a cooking technique on how to cook crap freshwater fish. The most favorite outing to the Iraqi people is going to the Tigris-Euphrates rivers coastline, where many restaurants specialized in serving grilled fish (Masgouf). The crap fish is freshly caught from the river, where the fish is scaled and gutted. One of the important techniques of cooking the fish is the cut, they would cut the fish from the back and open it into two perfect halves. The fish is lightly seasoned and some restaurant they do not use the seasoning at all. The taste and flavor of the grilled fresh fish really stand out. The fish is put into a special fish gadget, which is made out of cast iron to hold the fish together to be cooked over the grill. They usually served it with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and olives. The Iraqi flatbread (Khubz) is freshly made to be served with the fish.

You eat the dish with your hand by making small mouth full sandwiches. You start by having small pieces of bread, you pick the meat of the fish with your hand, added to the bread, then you add the vegetable and roll it to close the sandwich then it goes straight into your mouth. You continue to make these small sandwiches until you are full or the food is done. After eating this hearty dish you must have the Iraqi tea, it is bitter and sweet-tasting with some Iraqi sweet like baklava.

My father loves fish so much he is a typical Iraqi. You can serve my father fish during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every day he would eat it with no problem. My children are not into fish and they hardly eat it, but when my mom cooks the fish they would devour it. My father passed away several years ago, he loved life, loved the outings, and loved people. My father would talk to strangers and start a conversation with anyone. He is very friendly and social. When my husband goes to visit my parent's house, my father would welcome him with open arms and would serve him food, and when he stop eating he would force him to eat more. After they complete the meal, My mom would serve them Iraqi tea, and sweets. Then they would start to talk about politics and religion their favorite subject nonstop and they go at it for hours. Their voices would get higher and higher, you would think they are fighting, but this is how they enjoy each other company. Please always keep in touch with your loved once, and enjoy their company life is too short.

“O Allah, forgive and have mercy on my father, excuse and pardon all his sins. O Allah Expand his entry to his grave and heaven, and cleanse him with water, snow, and ice, and purify him from all his sins as a white robe is purified from filth. Admit him into the Garden of heaven, and protect him from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.”


  • Crap Fish or (any of your favorite whole fish) scaled, gutted and cut from the back of the fish into two equal halves

  • 2 tablespoon chopped dill

  • 2 glove garlic crushed

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 squeeze lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt as preferred

  • 1 onion cut in cubes

  • 1 green pepper cut in cubes

  • 1 tomato cut in cubes


Grease the cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil

Add the fish to the cookie sheet

To make the seasoning to put on the fish, In a small bowl add the 2-tablespoon olive oil, dill, garlic, black pepper cumin, salt, and lemon juice mix very well. Separate the seasoning mix into two equal halves.

The other half of the seasoning will be added over the onion, green pepper, and tomatoes. That will be put on the side of the fish.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and cook the fish for about 30 minutes or until is done.

Or for best-tasting fish use the grill, heat up the grill then lower the heat and put the fish for about 20 to 30 minutes until is done.

This fish was done in the oven

This fish was done on the grill


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