Spiced Fried Fish
Simple, quick -- and a fantastic way to liven up white fish fillets. The dense texture of meaty halibut steaks or fillets works particularly well here. The trick with this recipe is to have your frying pan (skillet) and oil quite hot to start with, to add your fish skin-side down and to resist turning it too soon. Follow these pointers and you'll end up with a deliciously crispy skin and moist, spice-infused fish beneath.
12 ounces thick white fish fillets or steaks, skin scaled and left on
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons dhana jiru
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato puree (paste)
2 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil, plus extra for frying
lemon wedges to serve
Wash the fish and dry it thoroughly, then cut into manageable-sized portions: you want them to be of a size that you can turn over quickly and neatly -- the width of your spatula or fish slice would be a good guide. Combine the lemon juice, garlic paste, spices, tomato puree and 1 tablespoon of the oil and smear all over the fish. Place in a non-reactive dish, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside for 20 minutes.
Heat a large, preferably non-stick, frying pan (skillet). When it is hot, use the remaining oil to cover the base of the pan in a thin film. Add the fish, placing it skin-side down. Leave it to cook, without turning, until the underside is crisp -- about 2 minutes if the pan is nice and hot. Then turn the fish and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the fish is done -- timing will depend on the thickness of the fillets. The fish should just turn opaque all the way through. Remove to a warm plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.
To make dhana jiru:
Preheat your oven to 350°. Scatter the seeds on a baking tray (pan), then put the tray into the hot oven. Roast the spices for 5 minutes (use a timer if you're likely to forget). Remove the tray from the oven and allow the spices to cool completely. Grind to a fine powder in small batches using either a coffee grinder or spice mill.