At home, a barbecue will help you obtain the traditional smoky flavour, or you can use a chargrill pan or a conventional oven. This method of cooking is especially suited to fish and is fast, healthy and easy. Just be careful not to overcook the fish as it can become dry, leathery and unappetising if cooked for too long. Serve this dish with Green chutney, lemon wedges and Onion salad.
800g firm fish fillets, such as snapper, kingfish, ocean trout, salmon, mulloway, barramundi, tuna, ling or cod, cut into 3 cm pieces
250g plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon Ginger paste*
1 teaspoon Garlic paste*
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1 teaspoon ajwaiin seeds
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons besan, (chickpea flour)
1 egg, beaten
Makes 1 cup
100 g (31/2 oz) fresh ginger
Peel and chop the ginger. Process in a food processor with 120 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) of water to form a smooth paste.
Makes 1 cup
100 g (31/2 oz) garlic cloves
Peel and chop the garlic. Process in a food processor with 120 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) of water to form a smooth paste.
1. To make the marinade, put the yoghurt in the middle of a clean square of muslin resting in a bowl or container. Bring the corners in to meet at the centre and tie in a knot. Hang the bundle containing the yoghurt from a hook, place the container underneath to catch the whey and excess liquid, and leave to drain for 2 hours. In warmer weather, hang the bundle in the refrigerator.
2. When the yoghurt has drained, continue making the marinade. Transfer the yoghurt to a large bowl. Mix together with the mustard oil, lime or lemon juice, ginger and garlic pastes, garam masala, ajwaiin seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, besan and egg.
3. Add the fish pieces to the marinade and stir to coat well, then cover and put in the refrigerator to marinate for up to 20 minutes – do not leave it for longer, as the fish will start to ‘cook’ in the acidity of the lime or lemon juice.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the barbecue, grill or chargrill pan to medium–hot. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200°C.
5. Thread the fish pieces onto metal skewers.
6. If using a grill or oven, arrange the skewers on a baking tray. Cook under the grill or in the oven for about 5–7 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through, turning once. Alternatively, arrange the skewers on the barbecue or chargrill pan and cook for about 5–7 minutes, or until cooked, turning once.
7. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve hot.
This recipe first appeared in Spice Kitchen by Ragini Dey ($45).