This is a nice, and flexible, dish. You have only to remember that the fish needs to sit in its spicy coating for an hour or so if it’s going to be really flavourful. Should you not have one of the seasonings, it won’t be a disaster.
In the original recipe (from Meera Taneja’s The Indian Epicure), the fish is fried, but, in my experience, baking gives very tasty and also more presentable results, as the fish doesn’t stick to the pan.
You can use any firm white fillets, fresh or frozen: coley, haddock, hake, ling, pollack, sea bass, or cod, are some of the possibilities.
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 med onion
- 1.5 cm piece of fresh ginger
- 1 green chilli
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 750 g fish fillets
- olive oil
- garam masala
- 1–2 lemons
The easiest way to make the coating is to whizz the following ingredients to a paste in a food processor: the coriander seeds, the cumin seeds, the roughly chopped garlic, onion, ginger, green chilli, and coriander leaves, the turmeric, and salt to taste. Add a drop of water only if necessary.
If however you are working by hand, heat the seeds to make them easier to pound, and grind them in a pestle and mortar, along with the garlic; grate the onion and ginger; and chop the chilli and coriander leaves finely. Mix all these ingredients together, adding the turmeric and salt.
Rinse and dry the fillets. Arrange them flat in a single layer in a baking dish greased with olive oil. Make two or three diagonal slashes in each fillet and spread the spice mixture all over, pushing it down into the slits. Leave in a cool place for at least an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C, and sprinkle the fillets with olive oil before placing them in the centre of the oven for 20–25 min.
When the fish is ready, it can be served directly from the baking dish, lightly peppered with garam masala, and with quarters of lemon and accompanying dishes on the side.
This lovely recipe comes from a French blog called A Taste of My Life, which is full of good things. It can be made with fresh or frozen fillets. We enriched the dish by making a stock from prawn heads and shells, cooked for 15 min with a bay leaf, dried celery, salt, and 1 l water. Rice is an excellent accompaniment. For the gluten-tolerant, couscous grain (with a few raisins – see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley, the book, for a method) is also nice. Any left-over ragoût can be re-heated successfully.
- 1 lge onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2.5 cm fresh ginger
- 2 lge tomatoes or 400 g tinned tomatoes
- 500 g firm white fish fillets (hake, ling, cod)
- 400 g tin chick peas
- a handful of dried almonds
- ½ bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lge pinch of chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ½–1 l fish stock
- 2 tbsp honey
- freshly-ground pepper
First prepare all the ingredients as the cooking steps follow each other fairly fast and furiously. Slice the onion, crush the garlic, and grate the ginger; chop the tomatoes, if using fresh.
Cut up the fish fillets into chunky pieces and drain the chick peas.
Put the almonds in a small pan of water and bring to the boil. Let them bubble for a few seconds before skinning/peeling them.
Wash and dry the coriander.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed sauté pan and soften the onion on a low heat for 5 min, turning it over occasionally.
Work in the crushed garlic, grated ginger, cumin, turmeric, and the cinnamon stick for a couple of minutes before adding the chilli powder or cayenne pepper, the tomato, a large pinch of salt, and fish stock to cover, and simmering for 10 min with frequent stirring.
Add the fish to the sauté pan and simmer for another 5 min or until the fish is almost cooked. At the same time, grill the almonds lightly.
Mix the drained chick peas and the honey in to the fish and cook another 2–3 min. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Snip in the coriander, scatter over the almonds, and serve.