Using both local Australian ingredients and traditional Indian cookery methods gives this dish a modern edge. The tropical homemade chutney gives the fillets a personal touch.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (12 votes)


  • 12 x 350 g sand whiting fillets, skin on
  • 1 tbs besan (chickpea) flour (see Note)
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground chilli
  • ¼ tsp ajwain seeds (see Note)
  • 2 tsp garlic and ginger paste (see Note)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • baby cress (optional), to serve


Pineapple chutney

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 400 g (about ½) pineapple, skin and core removed, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground paprika
  • 4 mint leaves

Cook's notes

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.


Drink match 2010 Rosily Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

To make pineapple chutney, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Toast cumin seeds for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in pineapple and tomato, and cook for 2 minutes or until tomato starts to soften. Add 150 ml water, sugar and paprika, and cook for 25 minutes or until mixture thickens. Cool, then process with mint leaves in a food processor until smooth. Set aside until needed. Any leftover chutney will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Score fish skin and remove any bones. Combine chickpea flour, spices, garlic and ginger paste, and salt. Using damp hands, coat fish in flour mixture.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, carefully lower fish into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 3 minutes or until golden and just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Serve with pineapple chutney and baby cress, if desired.


• Chickpea flour is available from health food shops and selected supermarkets.
• Ajwain seeds are available from Indian food shops and spice shops. They have an intense caraway flavour. Substitute caraway seeds.
• Garlic and ginger paste, available from Indian food shops, is a staple of Indian cookery. Alternatively, use 1 crushed garlic clove and finely grate a 2 cm piece of ginger.



Photography Rob Frith


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.