Mackerel is a wonderfully oily fish, and in this recipe, Peter Kuruvita pan-sears pieces of fillet with a herb crust, then serves it with a Mediterranean-inspired goat curd yoghurt and fragrant beetroot salad, with breadfruit chips and pappadums for a Sri Lankan touch.






Skill level

Average: 4 (4 votes)


  • olive oil
  • 1 kg Spanish mackerel fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ bunch basil leaves, finely chopped
  • mint leaves, finely chopped
  • flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • rocket, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • pappadums, to serve
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve

Beetroot salad

  • 3 whole beetroots
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 ml vinegar
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 1 banana chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 banana chilli, seeds removed, chopped
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 12 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground

Buffalo curd yoghurt

  • 150 g buffalo or goat curd
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced

Breadfruit chips

  • 300 ml oil
  • 1 breadfruit, peeled, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli powder

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.


Place the beetroot in a pot with the sugar, vinegar, cumin seeds and cinnamon stick and add enough water to cover. Place the pot on medium heat and cook for around 1 hour, or until the beetroot is cooked through yet still firm. Remove from heat and leave to cool in the water. Once cool, drain the beetroot. Cut off the ends of each beetroot and peel off the skin. Cut the beetroot into small cubes and set aside.

Then, make the pickle. Combine the chilli, pepper, sugar, garlic, onion and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil and cumin seeds and set aside until ready to serve.

To make the yoghurt, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, make the breadfruit chips. Heat the oil in a pot over high heat until it reaches smoking point. Add the breadfruit and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. Remove the breadfruit from the oil and drain. Place the salt, pepper and chilli in a small bowl and toss the breadfruit chips in the mixture to coat. Set aside until ready to serve.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Season the mackerel fillets well with salt and pepper and, once the oil is hot, gently place in the pan.

Fry for a few minutes on one side then flip to cook the other.

While the fish is cooking, make the beetroot salad. Combine the beetroot with the chillies, onion, garlic, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

Flip the fish again and add the basil, mint, parsley, rocket and lime juice to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

To serve, place a dollop of yoghurt on each plate. Top with a mackerel fillet, drizzled with some of the herb sauce from the pan. Serve with a small portion of the beetroot salad, some of the pickle and a pappadum. Finish with a sprinkling of the pomegranate seeds.