“Believe it or not, India has its own authentic version of fish and chips and this is my take on it. This really delicious fish is synonymous with Amritsar and sees the locals battling out whose is better. At its best it is crispy on the outside while the flesh is flavoured and creamy. For best results serve immediately though you can also make the fish pieces earlier and refry them over a high flame when people come around, which will make it even crisper. You can make these moreish fried potatoes as spicy or flavoursome as you like by adjusting the amount of spice you sprinkle over at the end.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories
- 600 g firm white fish fillets (see note)
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1½ tsp chaat masala
- 30 g garlic cloves, peeled
- 30 g peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1¾ tsp salt
- ⅓ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
- 1 tsp red chilli powder, or to taste
- 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp carom seeds
- 45 g (¼ cup) rice flour
- 150 g gram flour
Smashed fried potatoes
- 400 g medium-sized potatoes, peeled, cut into thick slices
- salt, to taste
- dried mango powder, to taste
- red chilli powder, to taste
- ground coriander, to taste
- ground cumin, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 2-3 hours
Standing time 20 minutes
Place the fish in a non-metallic bowl.
For the marinade, in a blender place the garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, lemon juice, chiili powder, ground cumin and 1½ tablespoons water and process until a fine paste forms (it is quite important the texture is smooth). Stir in the carom seeds. Spoon over the fish and toss to coat completely and evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hous.
Combine the rice flour and gram flour together and sprinkle over the fish. Mix well to coat properly, then stand for 15-20 minutes or until the fish comes to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat 8-10 cm oil in a large wok, saucepan or deep-fryer to about 160˚C. Toss the potatoes with a little salt and add to the oil. Cook, turning occasionally for 4-6 minutes or until tender (test with the tip of a knife). Remove with a slotted spoon and from drain on paper towel. Increase the heat of the oil to around 190˚C.
Stand the potatoes for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle, then using the palm of your hand, lightly flatten the potatoes, try not to make them burst but it’s not a problem if they do.
While the potatoes are cooling, deep-fry the fish, in small batches for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Do not crowd the pan. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with the chaat masala. Return the potatoes to the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on a double layer of paper towel in a single layer, then sprinkle each chip with a pinch of salt and each of the spices. Try one and decide if you want to go heavier with any of them. Dried mango powder adds tartness so I always add a little more of that and of ground cumin. Top each with a drop or two of the hot oil and serve immediately with the fried fish.
• I have tried this with many different types of fish and it worked with all of them. Cut thin fillets of fish into quarter chunks and cut loins into large chunks.