Fried Fish in a Bengali Style

A well done piece of fried fish is a pure joy. This particular style of fried fish is from Bengal, and I imagine it came to be when a Raj era English bureaucrat asking his Indian cook to fry some fish. The fish is coated in a highly flavourful paste before being crumbed and fried.

Fried Fish

Time

  • Prep Time : 40 minutes + 2.5 hours marinade and rest
  • Cook Time : 20 minutes
  • Active Time : approximately 60 minutes

Ingredients

For 2 people

  1. 350-400gms White fish fillet. Bhekti (Sea Bass / Barramundi) is an popular option, but any firm white fish would work. See the image below for a cut reference. The fillets are about a 1/2" thick.

For the marinade

  1. 6 Garlic cloves
  2. 1/2" knob of Ginger
  3. 3 green chilies (seeds and all)
  4. 100 gms of coriander (leaves and stems)
  5. 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  6. 3-4 teaspoons of water
  7. Salt to taste

For the breading 8. 2 cups of breadcrumbs 9. 4 eggs 10. 1/4 cup of plain flour 11. salt to taste

Bhetki Cut

The perfect cut. Each filet is approximately 80-90 gms

Method

Marinade and Crumb

  1. Prepare the marinade - take all the marinade ingredients (except the water) and grind them in a liquidiser or a spice grinding jar.
  2. The marinade should be a thick paste, so use some of the water only to help the grinding of ingredients.
  3. Once done - it should be a bright vibrant green.
  4. Coat all the fillets with the marinade, you should have a generous layer across the fillets, not thick, but ensure complete coverage
  5. Once done, rest the fillets covered in the fridge for 2-3 hours. I suggest using a glass or similar non-reactive container.
  6. To prepare the breading season the bread crumbs, and the plain flour with a little salt
  7. Beat up the eggs so it is a thick liquid, but not frothy.
  8. Remove the fish from the fridge
  9. Dip it in the flour and lightly dust all sides. The fish should be sufficiently damp from the marinade for the flour to stick to it.
  10. Dip the fish in the egg and then in the crumbs.
  11. Dip the fish in the egg again and crumb it a second time. This will give you a sufficiently thick layer to protect the fish and also get nice and crispy.
  12. Let the crumbed fish rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you start frying. This fish can be allowed to rest for upto 4 hours. If resting any longer than 30 minutes, pull it out 10 minutes before you start cooking.

Frying

  1. Use a sufficiently large skillet to cook 2 fillets at one time with about an inch and a half of space around each fillet
  2. The fish will be shallow fried, so use enough oil to fill the skillet to the half height of the fillet’s thickness
  3. Heat up the oil on medium heat, till when you drop in a bread cube, it gently starts bubbling.
  4. Put in the fish fillets and cook till one side is golden flip over and cook the other side till it reaches the same colour.
  5. Pull out and let rest on absorbent paper
  6. Prepare the other fillets in the same way.
  7. Serve hot

Traditionally this is served with Kasundi - Strong and Pungent, it looks like a liquid seeded mustard and bright yellow. If you cannot get your hands on Kasundi, mix dijon and seeded mustard to get the consistency. Or try with hot english mustard.

Alternatively if you have some mustard powder, just mix a teaspoon with a couple of teaspoons of water.

Tips

  1. If you want a lighter breading, don’t double dip, but stick a bit more crumbs in the first round
  2. If you have a slightly fishy smelling fish fillet, you should let it rest in a bowl of water with a teaspoon of plain vinegar and let it rest for 10 minutes before marinading.
  3. Don’t let the oil get too hot or the crumbs will burn and the fish will be raw.

Look at the inside of that fish

Eat in good health!


Copyright for all images and content (unless otherwise specified) is held by Akhilesh Sabharwal. Please attribute if reusing.