This is a delicious way to prepare fish – traditionally prepared with singhara (giant river cat fish), I used local New Zealand fish but you could use any firm white fish. Don’t be put off by the unusual spices – all these are easily available in any Indian store. I assure you the end result is a very authentic dish that is moreish.
600 grams warehou or trevally
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 thumb sized ginger, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon hot chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
3 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi available in Indian stores)
1 egg, lightly beaten with a spoon of water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus for shallow frying the fish pieces
1 plus ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
300 grams onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
300 grams tin of Italian peeled tomatoes
6 dried Kashmiri chillies
Couple of pinches of sugar
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves and radish rounds to garnish
Pound the chopped garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste.
Wipe the fish with kitchen paper and cut into cubes of 4 by 4 centimetres. In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, corn starch, rice flour, ginger-garlic paste, Kashmiri chilli powder, chilli flakes, dried fenugreek leaves, and coriander.
Dip a few pieces of fish at a time into the beaten egg. Remove and roll in the flour mixture until well coated. Allow to stand on some kitchen paper for five minutes. Repeat with the remaining fish pieces.
In a large fry pan, heat enough oil to shallow fry the fish pieces a few at a time. Fry until crisp on both sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
After frying all the fish pieces and if there isn’t any oil left from shallow frying the fish, add a couple of tablespoons of oil into the pan. Heat over medium heat and add a teaspoon of carom seeds. Cook until they begin to crackle.
Add two thirds of the chopped onion and sauté until golden. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste, the hot chilli powder, and the cumin. Continue frying until the spice fragrance is evident.
Stir in the tomato sauce (recipe below), salt and 100ml of water. Let it simmer for ten minutes.
Add the fried fish and cook until heated through (about 3 minutes).
Finish with lemon juice, garnish with coriander leaves and radish rounds. Serve hot with rice. Serves 4.
Rinse the dried chillies and soak in warm water for half an hour.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and add a 100 grams of finely chopped onion. Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes, chillies, salt, a couple of pinches of sugar and 100ml water. Allow to come up to the boil and then lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blitz the sauce. Finally, mix in the half teaspoon carom seeds.
(The amounts quoted are sufficient for the Amritsari style warehou)