Grilled ‘fried’ fish from Little Jack Horner’s Diary

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Fish is the darling of the health food world. It is high on Omega 3 fatty acids, low in fat, high in protein. The problem is that while most of us like a nice fried fish, we are told that fish is at its healthiest when grilled or poached. So here’s a way you can use a griller to get a nice Indian styled ‘fried’ fish.


Like fried fish or maachh bhaaja but are afraid to sin? Like that touch of crinkled skin but are squeamish about it?

Well what if don’t use a frying pan for your fried fish? And just a touch of oil? That works for you? Less of a guilt trip? Well then how about this…

Returned home late. Was wondering what to for dinner. Order out? My first instinct was Arsalan and got rapped on knuckles for that.

Remembered that there was was some leftover mushurir daal in the fridge. Some pomfret from 2 weeks back in the deep fridge too. A plan started to form.

I soaked some rice and put it to boil. Took the pomfrets out and thawed them in the microwave. This took about 3.5 minutes

I scored the fish. That’s a fancy way of saying I made some cuts on the surface for the masala to go in.
For the spice mix I used the simple Bengali combination of turmeric or holud, red chilli powder or guro lonka, 1 teaspoon of each for 2 pomfrets…some salt. Smeared it on both sides.

For the crinkled skin effect I just dabbed on a bit of oil on the skin of the pomfret. Just enough to coat the skin in a very thin layer. I thought I will counter these ‘fake Bong’ jibes and use mustard oil instead of the olive oil that I did last time. Well, I’ve got news for you, this brand at least, RRO, left no smell of MO after the grilling was done. And that, as Forrest said, is all I have to say about that.

But this post is not about mustard oil so let’s not get distracted.

I heated the OTG for 10 minutes at 200 C.

Opened the door of the oven and carefully took out the rack, with an oven mitt on, placed the fish on the rack. I wanted the heat to cover both sides of the fish. I didn’t place it on a tray because I didn’t want the masala to collect and make the fish soggy. The rack would give it the requisite airiness.

I shut the oven door and put it on for 200 C for 15 min. Once done I let the fish rest for 5 minutes inside so that the juices, flavours and spices could settle down.

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The faux shallow fried fish was ready for dinner.
In case you are wondering, the fish cooked evenly with the flavours going in deep.

Recipe in sum:

Ingredients: 2 pomfrets, 1 teaspoon each of turmeric & chilli powders, cooking oil. 1 teaspoon salt
Cook: Preheat oven for 10 min at 200 c. Put fish and grill for 15 min at 200 C. Let it rest for 5 min

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