Amritsari Masala Fish

My mother’s side of the family is from Amritsar in Northern India.  Many people in India are vegetarians, so that is how I was raised.  No meat, chicken or fish was cooked in the house.  My mom’s younger brother used to like to eat meat outside the home.  My uncle used to put me on his scooter and take me with him on his meat eating excursions.  He would go to a road side stand and order Amritsari Masala Pork Chops and Fish.  He would buy me Tutti Frutti Ice Cream and Pineapple Cream Pastry in exchange for a promise to not tell anyone at home that he had gone out to eat meat.  You see, my grandmother would not have approved of our culinary outing.

The culinary excursions my uncle took me on were definitely a high point of my childhood.  It was so much fun being with my fun loving uncle, riding on his scooter and eating wonderful food.  Today my uncle is a vegetarian and I have become a pescatarian.  When I visit Amritsar next year, I will go back to the road side stand with my uncle, but this time I will have the Amritsari Masala Fish.  Of course, followed by the Tutti Frutti and the Pineapple Pastry.

Here is my recreation of the recipe.  In the feature photo I served it on top of Spicy Pan Fried Okra (Bhindi Masala).  It can be served over any vegetable or grain.  In the photo below I have served it over spiced cauliflower and carrots.

Amritsari Masala Fish Feature 1

INGREDIENTS:  Four Servings

  • 4 pieces of firm white fish.  I used Tilapia loins here.
  • Enough Indian Spice Mix to coat the fish.  If you prepare 1/2 cup of spice mix you should have plenty.
  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil to coat the fish and 2 tablespoons to coat the non stick skillet.
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

PREPPING THE FISH:

Amritsari Masala Fish Prep

  • Rinse the fish.  Pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and Indian Spice Mix over the fish
  • Drizzle on a tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • Rub in the spices and flip the fish.  Repeat procedure on the second side.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I have kept the spiced, uncooked fish covered with a plastic wrap in the refrigerator for a day or more.  If the fish is very fresh, it will keep well.  The spices prevent it from going bad.  This is a good way to prep protein ahead of meal time.

I have also used this same method to prepare, chicken, pork chops, lamb and turkey for my husband.  This Indian Spice Mix is very versatile.

COOKING THE FISH:

  • Coat a large non stick skillet with 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and let the oil get hot.  When the oil is ready it will shimmer.
  • Place the spiced fish pieces in the pan.  You should hear a sizzle.
  • Leave the fish alone to let the spicy crust form.  You will see the fish turn opaque halfway up the sides.  This is the time to turn the fish.  DO NOT KEEP MOVING THE FISH, TURN IT ONLY ONCE.
  • Pour over the juice of 1 lime.  Cover the pan with a lid.  Turn the flame to low and cook for about 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Transfer cooked fish on to a platter.  Pour any pan juices over the fish.  Serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • I have also used this recipe to make Indian Fish Tacos.  I will post the fish taco recipe the next time I make it.
  • If you are using this recipe with other proteins, please adjust your cooking time so that a good spice crust forms and the protein is cooked to your liking.

 

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