Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fish Amritsari

When I requested for a guest post from Balvinder, she sort of knew that a fish recipe will be the best. Every time she shares a fish recipe on her blog of simpleglutenfreekitchen, I get all worked up for the right reasons. How can I not be because fish is the fav of my other half. I am ok with fish being part of our diet. After all fish is a great source of protein. This means I cook fish like 3-4 times in a week. What can get boring is preparing a fish recipe in the same style over and over. So the fish recipes I find on Bal’s blog fits perfect as a change whenever I am on the lookout for a different style of cooking fish.    

I was overly happy when Bal forwarded her recipe of FISH AMRITSARI which is something new to me.We normally have fish as a side dish, either added into curries or spicy fried to go with rice for our lunch.  For dinner,we like fried or soupy noodles or a western meal.  I like the way Bal has made the fish recipe, a twist to the usual fish and chips style.  I am going to make Bal's fish recipe for our dinner to surprise my other half with a recipe that came all the way from Canada.  Let's welcome Balvinder and get to know her as well as her recipe.

Hi everyone!  I am Balvinder from Simple Gluten Free Kitchen! I was born, raised in India and now live in Richmond, BC, Canada. My blog is a document of gluten free recipes, which anyone can enjoy. 

I was surprised and much honored to have been asked by Nava to write a guest post for her.  I told her that I have not done any guest post before but she was kind enough to say that there is always a first time. How sweet! I have not met her in person, but ever since I started following her blog, I have always felt she is a warm and friendly person. Not all people build such relationships through their comments. In fact, she even came to my aid when I had some issues with blogger. Her blog is a daily read to me. It takes you to places around the world , has tales of fashion and beauty trends, and yummy Malaysian food.  

It goes without saying that, she uses lemon grass a lot and this is among few of the herbs that I have not yet tried in my cooking. Her lemongrass chicken kebab is first on my mind. I also know from her posts that she enjoys a sour and spicy flavor, not to mention her Chilli Chocolate pudding. So when I decided on doing a guest post, I knew it had to be seafood and worthy of the spicy and sour food that she likes! 

Every non-vegetarian loves fish and chips. Agreed?  It is a popular take away food originated from England and then traveled to other countries. However, the recipe I am going to make is popular by the name "Fish Amritsari", as the name says itself, it originated in Amritsar, a city in Punjab, India

This is a recipe that I absolutely love and is a great blend of my Punjabi heritage. This is a great appetizer, best enjoyed in the company of friends with a mug of beer.  Although you can get a variety of fried fish in almost every city of the world, in my opinion, the best-battered fish that I enjoyed was in Amritsar. I have also tried the baked version, but this spicy white fish coated with besan tastes better when fried.

The fish pieces are marinated in lemon juice, ginger, garlic paste and ajwain. Although, ajwain is a spice, it has a strong herbal aroma and flavor similar to thyme and oregano, which is enhanced when roasted or fried. After marinating, the fish is fried to perfection with a simple lentil (besan /chana daal) flour coating. You can find many variations of the actual recipe, which includes egg, yogurt and some extra seasoning that goes in the batter, but I skipped that part. The fish is moist and succulent even without those elements because the main ingredients that make this fish really stand out are besan and ajwain.  

625g boneless and skinless white fish (I am using cod)
3/4 tsp ajwain /carom seeds /lovage
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 red or green thai chillies
95 -100 g besan /chana daal flour/ gram flour
Salt and red chilli powder as per taste
3/4 tsp chaat masala
2 tbsp water 
Vegetable oil for frying

Green chutney
1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed
Few mint leaves
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1-2 thai red chilli (or other spicy green chilli), finely minced
2 tbsp sweet relish
purple onion, diced (about the size of shallot) optional
2 tsp sugar
salt as per taste

1. Cut the fish fillets into 1 1/2" thick long pieces and put them in a bowl.

2. Add lemon juice, salt, chili powder, red or green minced chilli and marinate for 20 minutes.

3. Sift besan (gram flour) over marinated fish pieces, mix it gently, coating every fish piece with flour; also add two tbsp of water or more if required. 

4. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium.

5. Slide fish pieces into the hot oil one at a time. Take care not to over crowd as they may lower the temperature of the oil and cause the fish to absorb too much oil and become soggy. Once the pieces start floating, turn the other side.

6. Fry the fish until it is golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a rack or sieve or paper towel placed on a tray. 

7. Enjoy amritsari fish with green chutney and with a side of cucumber and radish salad.

Green chutney:
Cilantro and mint are the two most common ingredients used in Indian green chutneys, even though there are many versions. You can customize the ingredients according to your taste. 

I make this chutney in a big batch and then freeze it in a smaller container or ice cube tray. This chutney also tastes great in cucumber sandwiches.

Blend all the ingredients into a paste. If needed, add 1-2 tbsp of water. This will help in smooth blending.

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  1. hey u 2!

    Balvinder that just looks too good! I am a huge Punjabi food fan. ;)

    thx for sharing

  2. not only are you a great cook, your network is great too! =)

  3. Very nice it could Serve as snacks too..

  4. Thank you once again Nava for inviting me over. It was pleasure writing you for. I hope your hubby will like the fish.

    Thanks Helena, I am sure you must have tried this fish during your India trip.

  5. Delicious! I have never tried anything like this but I want to now. Great recipe, as always.

  6. Nice guest post, Balvinder! Fish Amritsari sounds really good!

  7. Delicious fish Amritsari, thanks Nava and Neetu for this awesome guest post.

  8. Although I don't bake much, I am guilty of enjoying high calorie fried foods! I'm not familiar with some spices but I am sure these are very delicious! :)

  9. awesome recipe.this is one of my fave dishes when i visit Indian restaurants. i wonder how long does the chutney stay good in the fridge.

    1. First of all thanks Miss for liking the recipe.

      The chutney stays good for one week. It does not smell or taste bad even after 7 days but I have a rule of emptying my fridge after a week.

  10. I'm definitely trying this recipe with my new deep fryer. Looks soo delicious :)

  11. Nava & Balvinder, great pairing! I love fried stuff!

  12. I absolutely love both your blogs my friends so coming together of course would be an explosive dish :D
    Lovely job!

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Looks like i have to ask my Punjabi friend to cook some for me.

  14. I would have never guessed that this was Balvinder's first guest post...what a pro! This fish looks so crispy and delicious. Thanks to you both!

  15. A lovely guest post by Balvinder! Delicious looking fish and wonderful presentation! Thanks Nava for sharing :)

  16. Ooooh! Great seeing Balvinder over here :) And rocking an awesome fish recipe too. You know I love me some fish! Great guest post

  17. I am a sucker for anything fried, and that chutney sounds great!

  18. I also love Bal's recipes and this one is one of my favorites :)Love the spices and the crisp texture in these beauties!!So delicious with that chutney!!Great guest post :)

  19. Great guest post, Nava! Balvinder's recipes are just lovely. :)


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