A simple meal of dal, rice and fish fry can beat the blues out of anyone (seafood lovers actually), isn't it? This has been my comfort food ever since I was a child and I turn to it even now. On days when I haven't planned an elaborate meal or have forgotten to keep meat to thaw in the fridge the previous night I just place some fish to thaw for a couple of hours in the fridge and then on counter till it thaws to room temperature. I find this easier as chicken/meat takes longer to thaw and most of my fish is frozen in smaller portions (as we are technically just two adults who eat fish at home). My little girl loves fish as much as her brother hates it. Anyway, since I don't want to force him anymore I limit his fish intake to boneless fish such as basa or cream dory which is usually shallow fried with rava or breaded and deep fried like fingers.
The easiest way to fry fish is to use bafat powder - the versatile Mangalorean spice blend that comes handy when you cook just about anything from seafood to meats to veggies. I like to use it a lot as it is a huge time saver. If you want to make some for yourself here's the recipe or you can also buy some from any well stocked Mangalore stores across India or of course from Mangalore (most stores sell it, including some bakeries).
Being a Mangalorean blog this is one basic/essential recipe that was missing so far so here it is, a very simple way to fry your fish. Do check my notes section for a substitute of the ready blend - you can make just as much as is required for this recipe by mixing ready made spice powders.
Prep time: 5 mins (does not take time taken to clean the fish) | Marination time: 15-20 mins or more | Frying time: 10-12min
- 5 medium sized (approx palm sized) pomfrets
- 1 heaped tablespoon bafat powder * see notes for substitute
- 1 teaspoon thick tamarind paste or thick extract of 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
- lime and coriander leaves for garnishing
- salt to taste
- oil for shallow frying
1. Descale and clean the fish thoroughly. Score the fish (make shallow cuts on the surface of the fish). Soak it for 5 mins in salted water to which turmeric has been added (optional step - helps remove the fishy smell especially from pomfrets). Refresh twice with fresh changes of water and place the fish on a colander to drain off excess water.
2. In a shallow bowl mix the bafat powder, tamarind juice and salt - add a few drops of water to form a very thick paste. Don't add too much water as it will dilute the marination.
3. Marinate the fish well and keep aside for at least 20 minutes.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the fish on a medium low heat until both the sides are cooked. Once done, tilt the frying pan until the excess oil drains off. Transfer the fish carefully onto a serving plate lined with an absorbent kitchen tissue.
5. Garnish with chopped coriander and sprinkle with lime juice. Serve hot with rice and curry.
1. To make your own small batch of bafat powder mix together 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder + 3/4th teaspoon of coriander powder + 2 pinches of cumin powder + 2 pinches of pepper powder + 2 pinches of turmeric powder - this is just an approximation. This makes about 2 teaspoons of bafat powder. Please adjust accordingly for this recipe (depending on how many pieces of fish you have and how thick a layer you intend to marinating them with)
2. If desired you can toss a few curry leaves or coriander leaves while the fish is frying. It adds a great flavour to the fish