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How to cook simple fish recipes

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It is starting to get hotter in Phoenix. Hotter weather calls for simple recipes and healthy eating. Instead of heavy, creamy and spicy meat recipes, the trend is towards eating more poultry and fish. Fish is an important source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids in one's diet. It is low in carbs and can be an easy and healthy substitute for red meat. Here is some easy fish recipes that were previously published on Examiner.

1. Baked pomfret in banana leaves: This recipe call for baking a white fish like pomfret marinated in spices and wrapped in a banana leaf. The fish can either be baked in the oven or grilled on an outdoor grill.

2. Chili and sour fried pomfret: In this recipe fish is marinated with two types of spices, a tangy, sour spice with tamarind and a chili and spicy marinade on the other side. The fish is then dunked in batter and pan fried.

3. Rice with fish head: This recipe is a pulao recipe in which rice is cooked with pieces of fish and fish head. It is a one pot meal and cooked for the entire family.

Baked Pomfret in Banana leaves
Baked Pomfret in Banana leaves S Biswas

Baked Pomfret in Banana leaves

Baked Pomfret fish in banana leaves

Ingredients

  • 4 small sized pomfret fish (cleaned)
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • ½ onion paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp green chili paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mustard paste
  • ½ cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 8 green chilies
  • ¼ cup cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 4 pieces of banana leaves (8” in length; can be substituted with foil)

Method
Clean the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Make horizontal slits in the fish so that the backbone is visible but the fish is not cut through. Season each fish with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Arrange the fish in a glass baking dish and put the onion paste, ginger paste and green chili paste along with the lemon juice on top of the fish. Rub the seasonings into each fish and let the fish marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Wash each banana leaf and par dry with a paper towel. Place a banana leaf on a cutting board. Put one marinated fish in the centre of the leaf. Add ½ tbsp mustard paste, 1 tbsp grated coconut, 2 green chilies, 1 tsp cilantro and 1 tsp mustard oil on the fish. Wrap the banana leaf over the fish to form a packet. Tie with a string to hold in place. Repeat with the rest of the banana leaves and the fish. You can use 6” pieces of tin foil to wrap the fish if you do not have banana leaves. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Take a rectangular glass baking dish and grease it with 1 tbsp mustard oil. Arrange the banana leaf packets in the baking dish. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. If the banana leaves look charred, loosely cover the baking dish with a piece of tin foil during the last 10 minutes of baking. Before serving, open each packet, discard the leaves and serve the fish with lime wedges. Serve hot with white or brown rice.

Chili and Sour fried pomfret
Chili and Sour fried pomfret S Biswas

Chili and Sour fried pomfret

Pomfret Macher Hara-Gouri

The marinade

  • Pomfret fish (8 pcs; halved if the fish are big)
  • ½ cup onion paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon

Make slits on the fish on both sides (2-3 slits per side). Marinate the fish pieces in this marinade for at least 3-4 hrs (preferable overnight). Discard the marinade before stuffing the fish.

The stuffing mixture

  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cilantro and chili paste (grind cilantro and 5-6 chilies together)
  • 1 tbsp mustard paste
  • 1 cup flour batter (mix 1 cup all purpose flour with a pinch of salt and oil and adds water to form a thick batter)
  • 1 cup canola oil

Method

Mix ½ cup coconut, tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp salt, cumin and sugar together to form the fist stuffing. Mix the rest of the grated coconut, chili-cilantro paste, mustard and ½ tsp salt to form the second stuffing mixture. Put one piece of fish on a plate. Now use your fingers to put the tamarind mixture into the slits in the fish. Add some more on the surface. Flip the fish over and stuff the other side with the chili-mustard stuffing. Heat oil in a shallow pan. Put a little flour batter on both sides of the fish to prevent the stuffing from leaking out. Sear the fish in the pan (1 minute per side) and keep on a tin foil lined tray for baking. Repeat with the rest of the fish. Searing prevents the stuffing from leaking and falling off while baking. Now bake all the fish at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Initially cover loosely with foil while baking. You can remove the foil in the last 5 minutes. Arrange the fish on a platter and garnish with lemon wedges before serving.

Fish head Pulao
Fish head Pulao S Biswas

Fish head Pulao

Muri ghanto (fish head pulao)

  • 1 whole fish head and small pieces of fish (Grass carp or Rohu)
  • 2 potatoes (skinned and diced into cubes)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp ghee (or clarified butter)
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2” piece of cinnamon
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • Cilantro (for garnishing)

Wash the rice in water. Add salt, turmeric powder, sugar, 1 bay leaf, ½ tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garam masala powder and ghee and let the rice soak in the spices for 10 minutes. Now add 3 cups water to the rice and cook in a rice cooker. You could also use a pasta pot and cook the rice over stovetop for 20 minutes till all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. In the meantime wash the fish head and pieces of fish, add a pinch of salt and turmeric and deep fry the fish in 1 tbsp mustard oil in a deep wok or karai. Turn the fish over and cook till both sides are fried well (light brown in color). Break the fish and head into bite size pieces and keep aside. Discard the burnt oil from the wok and add the remaining 1 tbsp mustard oil. When the oil is hot, season it with 1 bay leaf, the cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Add the green chilies and then the diced onion. Fry till oil leaves the sides and the onions are translucent. Now add the pieces of potato, ginger paste and continue sautéing till the potatoes are tender (5-7 minutes). Add the fish pieces back to the wok and mix with the fried potatoes and onions. Carefully mix in the cooked rice(use a spatula, so it doesn’t turn mushy) and mix with all the potatoes and fish. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with mint chutney or a yogurt dish called raita.

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