Amritsari fried fish

Amritsari fried fish

By
From
I Love India
Serves
4 as a light meal with salady bits
Photographer
Martin Poole

I visited the city of Amritsar a few years ago, full of anticipation as it was my first ever trip to Punjab. The people are friendly, proud and well-mannered and the food is delicious and honest. They put the tastiness of their dishes down to the sweetness of their water. Very humble of them, as their food is so delicious. I had eaten Amritsari fish before but never in Amritsar itself, so eating this in as many places as I could find became a bit of a mission. My version is based on my favourite one there from a restaurant called Makhans. The fish is cooked like chips. It is partially deep-fried and then deep-fried again as it is ordered. This ensures a lovely, crisp batter. I don’t do this at home, but for that extra crispness, that is the trick. We eat these with drinks, with some Tangy Herb Chutney but for a proper meal, I enclose it in a wrap with chutney and crunchy vegetables.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fish

Quantity Ingredient
400g firm white fish fillets or loins, cut into large chunks, (I use sea bream)
150g chickpea flour
3 tablepoons rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
vegetable oil, as needed
1 rounded tablepoon chaat masala

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
20g chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
25g garlic cloves
3 tablespoons lemon, juiced
salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
1 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon carom seeds

Method

  1. Place the fish in a non-metallic bowl.
  2. Make the marinade by blending the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt to taste, pepper, chilli powder, cumin and turmeric to a fine paste (you might need to add 1–2 tbsp water, to help the blades turn). I do this in my powerful blender and the paste is nice and fine; just get it as fine as you can. Stir in the carom seeds. Taste and season well, spoon over the fish and toss well to coat completely and evenly. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
  3. Mix the chickpea flour with the rice flour, a good pinch of salt and the cumin seeds. Add about three-quarters of this to the fish and toss well to coat. Leave for 5–6 minutes; the water from the marinade will help it stick. If not, add a little water in.
  4. Place the rest of the chickpea flour on a plate and toss the fish on this to coat on both sides, in case there are some bald bits.
  5. Heat 7.5–10cm of oil in a large wok, karahi or saucepan, or deep fat fryer until hot; the temperature should be around 180°C on a kitchen thermometer, or until a piece of the batter sizzles immediately. Add a batch of fish pieces, but do not overcrowd the pan; they should sizzle immediately. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 4–5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to blot off excess oil while you cook the next batch.
  6. Sprinkle over the chaat masala and serve immediately.
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