The term Amritsari refers to as being from Amritsar ( Sanskrit Amŗta-sarovar = "Lake of Nectar") from the Indian state of Punjab. This kind of fish marinated in a spicy mix and then fried in a batter is a delicacy known to be sold on street corners in Amritsar. But I have memories of it too as a kid growing up in Bombay. We had a sizeable community of people from Punjab living close by. They had a restaurant that sold Amritsari fried fish. I remember walking over with my dad to pick up fish for dinner. I still remember this huge Sikh guy sitting in front of a big wok like thing. All he would do is pick up fish pieces that had been marinated and dip them in a batter and drop them in to a fryer. And then they would go a pile of fish that would be consumed by patrons as fast they came out.
We would get fresh fried fish and a dollop of mint-coriander chutney to go with the fish. The taste and the memories of fried pomfret/shrimp are still fresh after these years. So finally I managed to do something similar on the weekend and tried out a recipe for fried fish.
- 1 pound of Flounder filets cut in to smaller pieces as preffered(tilapia, catfish would also work well)
- 1 cup gram (besan or chickpea flour) flour (rice flour or bread crumbs might also work)
- 3 tablespoons yogurt
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
- 2-4 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (available at Asian grocery stores)
- 1 teaspoon Carom seeds (ajwain) Optional.
- 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala (Chaat masala is a masala, or spice mix, typically consisting of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, black salt, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl, at chaat carts in India.) This is optional too.
- 2 tablespoon lime/lemon juice
- salt to taste
- oil to deep fry
- lemon wedges to garnish
- 1. In a bowl mix the ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, salt and lime juice. Apply it to the fish and keep aside for 20 minutes.
- 2. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, gram flour, egg, salt to taste and Thymol seeds. Pour it over the marinating fish. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
- 3. Heat the oil till it is very hot in a pan. Slide in the fish pieces and fry till they are crisp and golden brown in color.
- 4. Garnish with lemon wedges or sprinkle some chaat powder on the fish.
I have to say it turned out well. The succulent fish was marintated with the slightly intense chilli flavor and the fresh ginger and lime. The crispy coating of flour with the yogurt and the Carom seeds provided a different flavor that was a nice contrast to the fish. The chaat masala contained Mango powder,cumin and tamarind powder which provided a different kind of finish to the fish.
Serve with a coriander-mint chutney makes it even better which we did not have.
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